29th May, 2020

Start date of HS2 construction in Warwickshire still unknown

THERE is still no date for when construction work will begin on HS2 in Warwickshire.

The latest financial figures for the project show ground surveys along parts of the route are yet to be completed and are not scheduled to be so until next year.

But HS2 bosses remain confident of work starting on the hugely controversial high speed line between London and Birmingham soon afterwards – although they do not know when work will actually get underway in Warwickshire.

A spokeswoman for HS2 told the Observer: “We hope to have Royal Assent for HS2 at the end of the year and we should be ready to start in 2017 once the early works are completed.

“We don’t have a specific date yet for construction to start in Warwickshire and it will start in different pockets at different times.”

Work was originally meant to start before the 2015 General Election but concerns surrounding issues such as financing and the need for further analysis delayed the project.

Stop HS2 campaign manager Joe Rukin, who lives in Kenilworth, said he anticipated more delays to the £56billion project.

He added: “It is unquestionable that the timescale for HS2 is slipping yet again. You can’t build a railway if you haven’t designed it, done the ground surveys or prep work, and you certainly can’t build it if you don’t own the land it is meant to go on.”

The high-speed rail line connecting London to Birmingham is scheduled to open in 2026, and will cut through South Warwickshire past Southam, Offchurch and Cubbington.

A second phase linking Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds is due to open in 2033.

* CAMPAIGNERS opposed to the controversial HS2 railway line have branded a £15 million local community fund Warwickshire will share with Buckinghamshire and Staffordshire as a “pittance.”

The cash is meant to offset disruption caused by the line, from environmental to community projects but campaigners say it is nowhere near enough.

HS2 campaign manager Joe Rukin told the Observer: “Lots of groups will be fighting for this funding and it will leave many communities with nothing.

“It’s a token gesture and communities have been short-changed compared to the cities.”

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