A VILLAGE in South Warwickshire is the first to receive a community grant from HS2.
The successful bid by Wormleighton for £75,000 from the HS2 Community and Environment Fund (CEF) will pay for kitchen and toilet facilities at the village church to make available for wider community use.
A section of the HS2 London to Birmingham line, including a maintenance loop, will be built close to the village near Southam. In total 54 kilometres of the controversial high-speed line will cut through the heart of Warwickshire.
The £40 million CEF fund has been created to add benefit to communities along the route disrupted by its construction. The Government is allocating an initial £15 million to the central area – which includes Warwickshire – across both the CEF and the Business and Local Economy Fund (BLEF).
St Peter’s Church is the only building in Wormleighton with capacity for larger events where people can get together together socially, but does not currently have even basic facilities for visitors.
The bid was jointly made Wormleighton Parochial Church Council (PCC) and Wormleighton Parish Meeting.
Parish Meeting chair Irvin Klegerman said: “This funding will help us to do things which can generate the social cohesion we are trying to develop in our community.
“The 900-year-old church building is the only community asset belonging to the village and the lack of modern facilities has previously constrained our ability to organise family events that would also attract residents from the surrounding area.
“Our aim now is to achieve facilities fit for the 21st century that will bring our heritage to life for our community and visitors, and provide a lasting legacy for future generations.”
Warwickshire County Council helped with the grant application.
County transport spokesman Coun Jeff Clarke said: “The county council is delighted to see one of our parishes seize the initiative and become the first group in Warwickshire to be awarded HS2 funding.
“Wormleighton is an excellent example of how communities can pull together and work with the council to achieve the priorities that they value and secure a better future for themselves.
“We encourage local groups to bid for a share of HS2 funding to gain some benefit for the places affected by the construction and operation of the railway.
“Over the next eight years we expect a great deal of disruption while the line is being built, and this will money will begin to help strengthen the communities in its path.”
The first trains are scheduled to run on the line in 2026.