Warrington Council urges HS2 plan re-think

Graphic showing the route for the new highs-peed rail network

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The proposed route for the new HS2 train line, bypassing Warrington, will have a negative impact on the town's economy, councillors have claimed.

Borough council leaders have asked HS2 bosses to consider upgrading the existing train line through the borough rather than building a new one nearby.

They say work away from the existing line will impact on businesses and mean Warrington's economy does not benefit.

HS2 said the new line would cut London to Warrington journeys by 30 minutes.

Plans for the high speed project currently involve constructing a new line closer to Manchester than the existing West Coast Main Line.

A formal consultation on the proposed route is due to take place later in the year, with a final route to be chosen by the end of 2014.

Councillors said the proposed route, which bypasses the Warrington Bank Quay station by deviating from the current line between Crewe and Wigan, would mean the loss of Taylor Business Park - home to 50 companies.

'Massive future benefits'

They said alternatives were available and urged HS2 bosses to consider constructing the high speed line along the existing West Coast Main Line route via the Warrington station.

A letter to HS2 Ltd from council leaders asks what compensation will be available for those affected and states: "The council has significant concerns about the local impact of the Hoo Green to Bamfurlong 'spur' of the HS2 line on communities and businesses located in the eastern part of the Warrington Borough area."

A HS2 spokesman said the proposed line would virtually halve journey times between Birmingham and Manchester - to 41 minutes - and between London and Manchester from two hours and eight minutes to one hour and eight minutes.

Supporters of HS2 say it holds massive future benefits for the economy and would cut emissions from air travel.

But critics argue HS2's predicted economic benefits have been over estimated by the government, and suggest swathes of picturesque countryside would be blighted by the railway.

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