Improved HS2 tunnel for Burton Green

Image caption,
Villagers in Burton Green are due to present petitions to the HS2 Select Committee in January

A village expected to be cut in two by the HS2 rail line is to get a longer tunnel to help protect homes.

A shallow, "cut and cover" tunnel is planned for the line as it runs through Burton Green in Warwickshire.

HS2 Ltd said it had agreed to extend this by 50m (164ft) at either end and improve earthworks, to better screen homes in the village.

Some local residents, however, said it would mean only a "slight improvement" for a handful of homes.

HS2 Ltd said by lengthening the tunnel it would reduce "both the sound and visibility of the trains for communities nearby".

The firm added that pedestrian, cycle and bridle access would also be improved.

Despite the latest assurances, local county councillor John Whitehouse said he remained opposed "in principle" to HS2, but the authority needed "to be pragmatic".

"This is about working to get a better deal for communities from HS2 during the parliamentary process," he said.

'Fundamental problems'

Warwickshire County Council gave evidence to the HS2 Select Committee last month.

Since then, it said HS2 Ltd had also promised a new bridleway to connect the north-western end of the Kenilworth Greenway to Berkswell station, as well as an underpass beneath Cromwell Lane.

The fate of The Greenway - a tree-lined walkway that follows the line of a disused railway track - is among a number of concerns villagers have.

Local resident Archie Taylor said while he welcomed the latest news from HS2, it would not solve the project's "fundamental problems".

He said the use of the "cut and cover" tunnel, in which a trench is created before being roofed over, coupled with the seven years of construction, meant the "heart will be ripped out of the community".

He said a more expensive deep-bore tunnel running under Burton Green would mean less disruption during construction and would protect more homes.

Mr Taylor said under the current plans 61 houses were eligible for compensation, meaning a large number of people would leave Burton Green.

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