ANTI-HS2 campaigners are playing an active role in a council working group looking at the pros and cons of the proposed high speed rail link.

Mid Cheshire Against HS2 submitted a petition containing more than 1,800 signatures against the scheme to Cheshire West and Chester Council.

Following a debate on the issue by the full council the authority has set up a High Speed Rail, Task and Finish Working Party to look at the impact and opportunities of HS2 for the borough.

“Mid Cheshire Against HS2 is playing an active part in the process,” said Graham Dellow from the campaign group.

“Visits were made to farms and communities severely affected by HS2 during a tour made by the working group of all the road crossing points on the currently planned route.

“As well as the adverse effect on farms and communities, the working group is particularly interested in the impact on the local economy from HS2, and particularly the conflict between HS2 and other existing and proposed, economically-significant projects, including the creation of new salt cavities for gas storage, a project which is considered to be ‘of national importance’.

“We expect to be advised of the recommendations of the working group in early spring.”

HS2 was still very much a threat to the businesses, farms, property owners and residents of Cheshire, added Mr Dellow.

“During a very wet Saturday spent recently in Northwich this was not the message we were getting from the people we spoke to, many of who thought HS2 had been cancelled.

“Unfortunately this is not the case. The confusion may have been caused by the recent announcement by the Department for Transport confirming the route of HS2, but only as far as Crewe.

“Mid Cheshire Against HS2 has established that the route from Crewe northwards will not now be announced until this autumn, some 30 months after the announcement was originally due to be made.

“This state of flux is causing heartache and worry for many people from Crewe to Lymm, property prices continue to be depressed and farmers and businesses cannot plan for the future.”