HS2 route in Digbeth could mean 'bodies are exhumed'

Park Street, Digbeth The site was last used as a burial ground in the 1800s

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Bodies from an old burial ground in Birmingham might have to be exhumed as part of plans for the government's high-speed rail network.

Under the plans, the Curzon Street terminal would be built on Park Street in Digbeth, a 19th Century graveyard.

Mike Hodder from the city council said: "Every effort would have to be made to contact relatives and inform them of the disturbance."

A statement from HS2 said it would "keep disruption to a minimum".

There are 25 gravestones on the site which was last used as a burial ground in the late 1800s and is currently used as a recreational space.

Mr Hodder, Birmingham City Council's planning archaeologist, said: "The remains would have to be removed and archaeologists would have to contact any living relatives, it would be similar to what happened when the Bull Ring was built."

Plans for the £33bn scheme were approved in January and phase one between London and Birmingham should be running by 2026, later extending to northern England.

A Birmingham to Leeds journey will be reduced from two hours to 57 minutes and a Manchester to London journey from two hours and eight minutes to one hour and eight minutes.

The statement from HS2 said: "We are very aware of the need to do all that we can to reduce the environmental impact to the area.

"As part of our work on designing the new station we are meeting with the council, community representatives and other interested parties to examine how to keep disruption to sites such as the historic Park Street burial ground to a minimum.

"We will of course adopt the recognised best practice if any disturbance there proves necessary."

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