15th Aug, 2018

Reality of HS2 hits home after work starts on controversial line

Laura Kearns 14th Jun, 2018

THE REALITY of HS2 has hit home after work started in the district on the hugely controversial high-speed rail line.

Matt Bishop was shocked when he went on a walk between Offchurch and Hunningham and found diggers at work. It is understood contractors were doing preliminary works moving a gas pipe line.

The 50-year-old, who owns Leam Boat Centre, told the Observer that after years of campaigning against the line he still did not expect to see the workmen in action.

Matt, who lives in Radford Semele, said: “Seeing work start is quite shocking and really hits home.

“I have lived around here all my life and we already have rail lines for five miles in either direction and we are bang in the middle.

“It’s absolutely stupid and not fair on the people who live here. We feel powerless. It cuts through the whole countryside.”

Now the dad-of-three is calling on others who oppose the line to join protest walks to see the work in the area and to demonstrate their opposition.

He is urging people to join two Facebook groups which have been set up to keep residents updated with HS2’s progress locally, and provide details of protest walks.

Matt added: “We want people to see the size of the construction work and remember this is just the beginning.

“It is their countryside which is being destroyed for generations to come. Why should we sit around and just let this happen?”

The line linking London and Birmingham will stretch for 190km – of which 54km will cut through the heart of Warwickshire, also resulting in the loss of ancient woodland in Cubbington, including its prize-winning pear tree.

Work to offset the line includes the creation of wildlife habitats, including six ponds close to Kenilworth Golf Club, and the planting of more than 6,000 trees and shrubs.

A HS2 spokesman this week told The Observer: “We appreciate the concerns of local communities and have been regularly talking to them about plans for the railway. This includes holding community drop-in events earlier this year, as well as meeting the parish council.

“Our work in the area this year includes utilities diversions, as well as the creation of new wildlife habitats, which will form part of a ‘green corridor’ of woodlands, habitats and community spaces alongside the railway.”

The work comes just weeks after HS2 contractors started preliminary work in Kenilworth.

Outraged residents say workmen cut down trees at a wildlife haven during nesting season.

But HS2 claimed the trees were checked closely for nests in advance.

To keep updated with protest walks search for Cubbington Action Against HS2 or HS2 Watch Kenilworth on Facebook.

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