A FURIOUS councillor has slammed HS2’s latest proposals for mid Cheshire – claiming they have broken the hearts of rural residents.

Cllr Mark Stocks, Conservative Cheshire West and Chester Council member for Shakerley, is urging the Government to axe plans for the high-speed railway between Crewe and Manchester.

He is particularly concerned about the impact of HS2’s latest proposals in his ward, which he believes will ‘tear apart village life’ in Lostock Green, while Byley is now also affected for the first time.

Cllr Stocks told the Guardian: “These proposals have left many residents heartbroken and devastated at seeing the impact this will have on their homes and community.

“At a time in which many residents have been isolating through the current pandemic, in the background HS2 has continued to proceed at pace destroying our local environment.

“HS2 has had a very negative psychological effect on residents for the last seven years – this continues and grows, especially on top of nine months and ongoing of Covid stress.”

Cllr Stocks says that in the updated plans for HS2 phase 2b produced this autumn, there is now 156 per cent more land required for the railway between the Morrisons Roundabout at Rudheath and the Lostock Triangle.

He fears Lostock Green will become ‘isolated’ as as footpaths linking to shops, schools, churches and transport links are removed both during and after construction of the railway.

There are also safety concerns for the planned diversion of where slow traffic from Birches Lane would join the A556 at a steep slope from a blind summit.

And a new area of land at Byley has been safeguarded for a borrow pit between the M6, FP McCann, Holford Gas Storage, Byley School and Lowes Farm Shop – something which has come as a surprise.

“At no point in the previous consultations have HS2 mentioned Byley being included in their development plans,” said Cllr Stocks.

“HS2 Ltd appears to have ignored all comments submitted in the consultation of 2018.

“I and many residents are disgusted and shocked at the lack of awareness by HS2 Ltd of the impact of their route and their construction on local residents’ lives and communities.”

Cllr Stocks believes the time is right to now pull the plug on the project, at a time passenger numbers have fallen due to the pandemic and more people are working from home.

He believes the way HS2 has added to its plans for the area is ‘underhand’ – but HS2 Ltd says it has written to every residents living within one kilometre of the proposed railway to explain its new proposals.

A HS2 spokesman said: “HS2 is playing a pivotal role in helping Britain’s economic recovery. More than 13,000 people are already working on the project and we recently announced a further 22,000 jobs across the country at a time when it needs them most.

“Proposals to extend the railway north of Crewe will create thousands more jobs and supply chain opportunities for local businesses, alongside the proposed rolling stock depot near Wimboldsley which will support over 100 skilled local jobs.

“In line with Government Covid guidance, HS2 is currently unable to hold local community events and has instead created a virtual exhibition space, supported by a series of live webinars, to enable communities to ask questions about the proposals.

“Local communities were advised of the proposals, signposted to the supporting consultation documents and actively encouraged to have their say before the consultation closes on December 11, 2020.”

For more information call the HS2 helpline on 08081 434 434 or visit hs2.org.uk