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HS2 debate sets Northwich communities against each other
NEIGHBOURING communities in Northwich are being set against each other by a new high speed rail link for the UK.
The proposed route of Phase Two of the £32billion High Speed Two (HS2) line was revealed on January 28 and hailed as an ‘engine for growth’ by Chancellor and Tatton MP George Osborne.
But rural communities across Northwich fear the impact it will have, with the Birmingham to Manchester leg running through Whatcroft, Lach Dennis, Lostock Green, Lostock Gralam and Pickmere.
At a meeting of Wincham Parish Council last Wednesday, Pickmere stud owner John Keleher asked residents for their support in signing a petition against the route, which is set to cut through the heart of his land.
He said: “We have had a letter to tell us that our land will be compulsory purchased. It is such a shock.
“We have learned so much about HS2 over the last three and a half weeks.
“We are going to be totally destroyed by HS2.”
But clr Dominic Turner, a member of Wincham Parish Council, expressed his concern that objecting to the route could cause further problems for Wincham.
He said: “I feel very sorry for the guy who has been served a notice for his farm already and people are signing his petition.
“But what if they decide to save his farm and what if they move the route 300m closer to our village.
“Every single person is going to come back here and ask what’s going on.
“Wincham is going to be affected by the proposed route, mostly construction wise, but I think we are getting away with it as a village.
“It is bad for farmers but once it is built, they will be able to farm right up to the line again.
“I just don’t want us to take a stance that we live to regret.”
Vice chair Clr Kenton Barker, said: “It does not matter if we oppose HS2 or not, but the one thing we need to try and make sure is that we screen it from the village.”
Fellow parish councillor Annie Makepeace said: “We are custodians of the village, we don’t own it and we have to protect it for future generations.”
However, the discussion wasn’t all doom and gloom, with Clr Ian Parr joking that HS2 will ‘make it impossible to train spot’.
Wincham Parish Council is awaiting a meeting with an officer from Cheshire West and Chester Council before it makes any formal decision on how to proceed.