Kenilworth MP calls on Prime Minister's support following HS2 traffic dispute - The Leamington Observer

Kenilworth MP calls on Prime Minister's support following HS2 traffic dispute

Leamington Editorial 4th Sep, 2020   0

KENILWORTH MP Jeremy Wright has called for the Prime Minister’s support after HS2 refused to alter construction plans which could cause traffic disruption in Burton Green.

The MP has raised concerns about the closure of the junction of Red Lane, Hob Lane and Cromwell Lane causing long diversions for families whose children attend Burton Green Church of England Academy.

The high speed rail company argued the closures were essential for the construction of a crossing point which includes the removal of a mature oak tree for visibility reasons.

The controversial line is set to pass through the village via a tunnel which will broadly follow the alignment of the Kenilworth Greenway. The crossings form part of a temporary greenway to divert people from the construction area.

Mr Wright raised the issue at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday (September 2).

He said: “The start of the new term this week will be challenging for all schools. It will be particularly so for Burton Green Church of England Academy in my constituency, where HS2 has just closed the road that many parents use to access the school.

“It has done that for several months, with little notice or consultation, and contrary to assurances given during the passage of the High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Act 2017.

“This is not the first or only example of high-handedness or poor communication on the part of HS2. So will he please help me to require of HS2 that it does better for the people of Burton Green and elsewhere on the route?”

Speaking after the session, Mr Wright added: “HS2 Ltd made promises during the passage of HS2 legislation that essentially said they would be considerate to the needs of local communities, but in this case they have not consulted adequately or done enough to keep those promises to minimise disruption.

“I am pleased the Prime Minister agreed to take forward the issue I raised in the House today and look forward to further engagement from ministers on this issue. We simply cannot allow HS2 to ride roughshod over local communities and we must hold them to account for promises they make.”

The company said the works had been discussed with the school and the temporary closures and diversions were necessary to ensure the safety of the community.

A spokesperson said: “HS2 has worked closely with council and community representatives over the past three years to make sure the temporary greenway in Burton Green is a safe community asset that locals and visitors can use throughout HS2 construction. It will take around four to five months to finish the temporary greenway and, for a shorter period of time, we need to close some roads to ensure the safety of everyone in the area.

“Diversions are in place to provide alternative access to Burton Green Church of England Academy, and these arrangements were discussed with the school at a meeting last month. We continue to work closely with the headteacher to review the potential to create a temporary car park to facilitate pick up and drop off. Parents are being consulted on the proposals and are invited to give their views.

“HS2 takes its responsibility to impacted communities incredibly seriously. We have over a hundred people on the ground along the route, listening to concerns and trying to mitigate impacts every single day. Our staff also ensure communities have the right information to take advantage of the opportunities HS2 offers, such as jobs, community grants and business contracts.”

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