The Courier’s revelation last week that construction traffic for HS2 is likely to be funnelled through Warwick and Leamington, must be a great concern for all our residents.
If HS2 is built people in Leamington will see little or no direct benefit. There will be no stations between London and Birmingham so we will be unable to make use of high-speed rail to reduce journey times. We will, however, be expected to put up with convoys of lorries rumbling through our streets during it’s construction followed by permanent noise pollution from trains running every few minutes at speeds in excess of 200mph. That might be just tolerable if HS2 could be shown to be in the national economic interest but it is simply intolerable now that it is increasingly clear that it cannot.
I am sure that the current government acted from the best of motives in taking forward the plans for HS2 which it inherited from Labour when it took office in 2010. No doubt ministers genuinely believed that reducing journey times between London, Birmingham and the North would be beneficial for the economy. That belief now looks ever more unrealistic. The spiralling cost of the project undermines the government’s cost benefit analysis and makes it more likely that HS2 will suck funding away from important local transport infrastructure schemes in the Midlands and elsewhere.
The tide of public and political opinion appears to be turning against HS2. I am delighted to say that our MP, Chris White has been opposed to the scheme, and spoken out against it ever since he was elected. If the Government calls a halt now it will not only be doing the right thing nationally, but also earning the gratitude of people in Leamington. One thing is for certain, I will be fighting to keep this unwanted traffic off our local roads.
Amanda Stevens, Royal Leamington Spa Town Councillor, Conservative, Manor Ward