HS2 has been slammed as a ‘crackpot’ idea with no benefit to the people of Northwich by town councillors, as they set up a working group ahead of submitting an official response.

Northwich Town Council members voted to form a three-strong group, which will look in detail at the latest HS2 plans and respond to a consultation ahead of its December 21 deadline.

As reported in the Guardian last month, The project will see roads – including the A556 – rerouted and homes demolished to make way for the multi-billion pound high speed rail route in Cheshire.

It will also permanently cut off part of Morrisons’ distribution centre parking at Gadbrook Park, while HS2 Ltd has said that the train service itself could hit ‘quality of life’ for residents nearby.

Cllr Andrew Cooper, who will form the working group along with Cllrs Mitch Rowley and Tom Melville, said: “The route itself doesn’t touch Northwich parish, but we have a wider responsibility to comment on things that will affect people in the town. This certainly will.

“Anybody who commutes to Manchester or anywhere near the planned route will certainly be impacted.”

“It looks as if they are going to cut off access to Road One and Gadbrook Park for a long time. This could have an absolutely catastrophic effect on jobs and livelihood in mid Cheshire.”

Building the phase 2b route, which follows the A556 from Broken Cross to Lostock, will see a number of construction compounds along the route.

Councillors noted at the meeting that this was just one of a number of factors contributing to an expected increase in traffic, which could put Northwich’s infrastructure elsewhere to the test.

Cllr Derek Bowden said: “I have become a regular commuter for Manchester in recent months, and often it’s an hour – if you don’t choose the right time – to go three or four miles.

“There are safety hazards to that. If you are sitting there nose to tail with people trying to get to work, the tension is displayed in their posture.

“I have asked around for a business case for HS2 and how it is beneficial at a national and local level and no one has been able to offer one. This is a crackpot project, but it’s there and we have to deal with it and it’s no good squawking.”

Cllr Paul Dolan added: “The icing on the cake for this project for me was hearing that, once finished, it’ll be the most expensive rail travel cost in the whole of Europe. There is no benefit for people in Northwich.

“They are entering into some constructive conversations with those affected elsewhere.

“There are things to be done with how we can mitigate the impact if we know what the plans are, and this certainly helps us to understand that.”

Cllr Tony Lawrenson, who also sits on Rudheath Parish Council, said: “People in Rudheath as well think it’s a disaster and can see that it will cause chaos. [HS2 Ltd] could have done it differently but they don’t give a damn – they are pushing it through wherever they can.”

The HS2 consultation documents are available to view at gov.uk and a public drop-in event takes place at The Venue at Gadbrook Park, 2pm to 8pm on Thursday, November 29.

HS2’s Leonie Dubois, head of consultation and engagement, said: “HS2 is coming to Cheshire and the region will reap significant benefits as a result. High speed rail will play a crucial role in rebalancing Britain’s economy; driving business growth, stimulating investment and creating jobs right across the country.”

“Through the public consultations, we are providing a more detailed account of how we propose to build the railway and minimise its impacts during construction and operation.

“We actively encourage people to have their say on the plans we have published today.”