More HS2 misery for town

Anti HS2 beacon on the railway line at Portway Farm Twyford.'110228M-A574
Anti HS2 beacon on the railway line at Portway Farm Twyford.'110228M-A574

GREEN belt land equivalent to the size of 50 football pitches will be “virtually destroyed” under the latest HS2 construction plans.

Engineers have revealed the latest route information which include to divert Canley Brook and dig up the 550 metre ‘Crackley Gap’ during line construction in what could take land 30 years to recover.

As part of work to lay the planned High Speed rail line between London and Birmingham, the western side of the A429 will be dug up all the way to Coventry and the green belt land will virtually disappear at its narrowest point.

Complex excavation, deep cuttings up to 11 metres and concrete troughs to collect ground water will be needed to cross Canley Brook in what engineers described as “the most challenging” route section.

HS2 Ltd’s latest announcements were made to Kenilworth area community forum on Tuesday where residents questioned the destructive approach to tackling problems.

Nick Hillard, secretary of the Crackley residents association and former area environment manager, said: “The whole area will have to be dug up leaving a sterile eyesore.

“It will take up to 30 years for the little which is left to get back to be in keeping with the landscape.

“We’ve expressed concerns about Canley Brook for years but none of our suggestions are included.”

George Illingworth, town mayor, described the expected effects on Crackley as“horrendous”.

Joe Rukin, Stop HS2 campaigner, said engineers were simply opting for the cheapest way out.

“After three years of warning, they plan to dig up the entire greenbelt and wildlife corridor, which is a third of a mile wide,” he said.

“They have just chosen the option of least cost and highest disruption which only shows that nothing has been thought through.”

The Connect 2 Kenilworth cycleway will also be moved and the line raised by over two metres to cross Dalehouse Lane - which will be closed for a year for construction.

At Stoneleigh, a compound to house hundreds of workers for years will be built in a field currently used for agricultural shows.

HS2 Ltd’s Richard Johnston said: “The construction proposals for the route between Coventry and Kenilworth are not final but reflect our current thinking. We are meeting with highway departments of Warwickshire council to discuss road diversions and will continue to explore ways of minimising impact of with local people.”