The Government minister in charge of a controversial High Speed rail project is coming under pressure from an MP to meet with residents affected by the scheme who claim their concerns are being ignored by bosses at HS2.
Tatton MP Esther McVey has been told HS2 staff are ignoring questions posed by concerned residents, despite the worries being submitted through the dedicated resident helpline.
Last night she wrote to Rail Minister Andrew Stephenson demanding he lift the lid on any changes to phase 2b of the line from Crewe to Manchester after the latest document suggests huge changes compared with a 2018 document.
Ms McVey said: “I have opposed this line from the very beginning and I do not want to see it happen. I think it is a complete waste of money and if Covid has taught us anything it is that people do not need to have faster journey times to London, that money would be better spent on improving digital connectivity to ensure villages and more rural parts of the country are not left behind.
“It is absolutely appalling that residents most affected by this proposed line are being ignored. I have been contacted by the Parish Council, Cheshire Against HS2 and many residents who are struggling to get answers from what is supposed to be a residents’ helpline[BA1] . Verbally residents were told changes were minimal but going through the document it is clear there are many disparities. They came to me and said it now seems the extent of additional work is very significant. We need transparency. Residents deserve answers and I will do everything in my power to ensure they get them.”
In her letter to Ms McVey set out a list of questions residents want answered, ranging from implications for residents outside of the compensation zone, safety issues, the significant increase in land area required for construction and health impacts on Lostock Green.
Ms McVey added: “Residents want a manager from HS2 to visit to see the extent of destruction HS2 and the Rolling Stock Depot will have on communities and for their questions to be answered and that is a very reasonable request.
“Communities are rightly concerned and want very detailed answers to very detailed questions. People have taken the time to put together a comprehensive document setting out their concerns which I have forwarded to the Rail Minister and I expect him and HS2 bosses to have the courtesy to reply to the individual points in detail and not be dismissive of their concerns.''