NORTHWICH Town Council has warned of the potentially ‘devastating’ impact of HS2 on the town, in a response to the latest high speed rail project consultation.

An environmental statement was published, showing the plans in more detail and highlighting issues including works phasing, environmental impacts, and the uprooting of homes and roads.

In a response, councillors have told HS2 Ltd bosses that – as things stand – the project could ‘present economic blight’ and harm Northwich’s regeneration.

Further, it shines a light on the infrastructure issues which the council says has not been addressed in the wake of increased residential and business development.

The response said: “In general terms, the sensitivity of Northwich’s transport network to disruption from any roadworks is very high and it is likely that any work undertaken will have some detrimental impact on the local transport network, not to mention an economic impact on Northwich Town Centre.

“The A556 and the A54 are the only two methods of access to the M6 from Road One Industrial Estate in Winsford, from Gadbrook Park in Northwich, and from Northwich more generally. Proposing to carry out these realignment works simultaneously is both negligent and deeply concerning.

“It is essential that the phasing is re-visited to minimise the impact on these centres.”

The A556 is also set to be realigned under current plans, moving north adjacent to the lime beds and elevated to approximately the same height. The council added that fog – common over the lime beds – poses a risk to motorists.

Further, areas of Lostock and Rudheath would be impacted by ‘prolonged loud noise’, and the council has asked that mitigation is provided.

The response added: “HS2 Ltd’s preferred route through mid Cheshire is widely regarded as a high risk route with a great number of unknowns, particularly around the proposed Dane Valley Viaduct.

“It was clear from the consultation events that no serious quantity surveying work has been done in this area and no detailed designs have been produced. Rather, generic costs for viaduct construction have been used.

“Given the scant detail in this area, we cannot see how alternative proposals … can have been properly considered and compared on a like-for-like basis.

“We urge you to produce detailed estimates of costs and risks on this section of the route before the hybrid bill goes to parliament and it becomes too late to make substantial changes to the route.”