HIGH speed rail plans are looking set to stay firmly on track after the new transport secretary said he intends to push ahead and complete the programme within five years.
But uproar has erupted among town campaigners protesting the line which would cut past Kenilworth and through Burton Green.
In an interview last week, the newly appointed transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said he wanted to ‘fast track’ the proposed high speed rail track and that he would “love to” see the project completed in five years -despite construction not even being due to start until then.
Mr McLoughlin also indicated that there would be no significant compromises on the published HS2 route between London and Birmingham.
Speaking about widespread the criticism for the project he said: “All we get is grief. All we get is hassle. But one of the things that government has got to try and do is to look to the long-term future.
“Whichever route we’re going to put it on we’re going to upset people.”
Mr McLoughlin also said that critics of the project – who argue that the shorter journey times on HS2 were not significant enough to justify the cost and destruction to the countryside – were missing the point.
But Stop HS2 Kenilworth campaigner, Joe Rukin who is vehemently against the proposals, rejected the secretary’s comments, saying he was simply trying to “pass off” all those who will be severely affected.
“McLoughlin wants to stick his fingers in his ears and pretend the opposition is all about the route,” he said. “He is trying to pass us off as just a bunch nimbies and says we are missing the point, but it is he who is missing the point.
“The project is massively expensive, environmentally disastrous, not what the country needs and will not deliver on its promises.”
It has been suggested that the Kenilworth area would be the worst affected along the route in terms of noise and Burton Green village Hall would be demolished to clear the path for the tracks.
Find out how you will be affected at an information day on October 20 at Kenilworth School.
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