Waiting game for those living near planned track

HS2 Ltd held a consultation and information day at Leigh Sports Village
HS2 Ltd held a consultation and information day at Leigh Sports Village
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A WIGAN councillor whose family home lies in the middle of a proposed high-speed rail route has vowed to oppose the controversial plans.

Coun James Grundy, Conservative member for Lowton East ward, spoke out after the proposals for High Speed Two (HS2) showed the planned line running straight through farmland owned by his family.

Residents got the chance to have their say on the controversial new network at a public consultation held at the Leigh Sports Village by HS2, the company behind the scheme.

Coun Grundy also criticised how long residents will have to wait before a final decision is made and said there were alternative, less disruptive upgrades which could be made to the rail network.

He said: “Residents have already had almost a year of uncertainty and they won’t start getting compensation packages until 2016 or 2017.

“The route runs through Wigan’s green heart, and once that’s gone it can’t be replaced. Other projects running near sites of special scientific interests and historical sites would be thrown out by the council.

“The major alternative is to upgrade the West Coast Mainline from Crewe to Wigan, which is very similar in cost but would cause more disruption to existing services. I think it benefits almost everyone and doesn’t cause people in Lowton to suffer.”

Almost 300 residents visited the Leigh event to discuss with HS2 staff issues from proposed noise mitigation schemes to the environmental impact of the new route.

The consultation also included a sound booth to offer visitors a recording of how the new HS2 trains will sound on a particular stretch of track.

HS2 Ltd claims the infrastructure work will create around 400,000 new jobs and improve rail capacity.