Parish Council News

Mavesyn Ridware Parish Council

Meeting with HS2 Ltd representatives

on Thursday 20th July at 7.30pm at Village Hall.

  Present: Cllr M Hill, Cllr M Tittley (CC), Cllr R Edwards, Cllr S Essex, Cllr A Harrison, Cllr K Vernon, Cllr S Barnett (DC), Cllr G Stockdale. From HS2 Ltd: Richard Johnson, Engineer Phase 2a; Liz Davis, Stakeholder Engagement Manager. Apologies: Cllr K Bowdler; Mr Hobson, HS2 Ltd. Declaration of business/pecuniary interest was made by Cllr M Hill. Mr R Johnson gave an update on the progress and revised timescale of HS2 Phase 2a, indicating that the 63 km stretch from Fradley to Crewe was likely to be operational by 2027, one year behind Phase 1. He outlined the parliamentary process from the deposition of the Phase 2a Bill on 17.7.17, through the consultation process ending on 30th Sept 2017, to the commencement of groundworks in 2020. He listed the key changes agreed over recent months:
  • Traffic and haul routes will be constructed alongside the railway where practicable.
  • Borrow pits; locations will be based on the Staffs Mineral Plan. There are 5 locations for sand and gravel extraction locally, and there will be significant traffic impacts.
  • Extended corridors beyond railway will only be required for a few weeks at a time, for utilities, etc.
  • 12-15 locations where there will be alterations to traffic flow; identification of the exact land take will be made more accurately.
  • 5 information events, will include KB on 2nd August and Stafford on 12th August.
Mr Johnson indicated that he will return to discuss documents when received and will continue the dialogue established at this meeting through to Spring 2018. He assured the meeting that the revised design complies with all engineering requirements. He asserted that the following aspects of concern had been or would be addressed:
  • HS2 Ltd is working with the 175 farms along Phase 2a, with the landowners and/or land agents. Agreements with farmers are built into 3 design iterations and the process will continue.
  • The Select Committee will want to hear about impacts on individuals.
  • HS2 Ltd are trying to maintain the membership of community engagement teams during the petitioning process and will circulate information going forward.
  • A Community Fund will be available.
  • Contractors and the preferred route were announced on 17.7.17.
  • The maintenance loop at Pipe Ridware has been removed and the line has been lowered by 3 / 4 metres.
  • Stone is now the agreed location of the maintenance loop; this is the correct, logical location to facilitate N/S working and acceleration of the project.
  • Phase 2b is announced; negative reaction already seen. Deposit of Bill in 2019.
  • Unlikely that impact will be seen in this area of workings around Crewe (consultation now running).
  • Madeley/Whitmore Tunnel will be looked at again after petitioning.
Questions were then taken: Cll Tittley raised the issue of the Trent viaduct, indicating that it is not clear what it will look like. RJ: The railway needs to get to Crewe to open up the northern areas of the country. Believes that it will be on time and on budget. Cllr Tittley commented that the Handsacre junction is the key to the successful implementation of the Phase 1/2a plans, but he unsure as to what it will look like. RJ: We will share all information as it develops, including 3D models.  Cllr Essex and Cllr Stockdale raised the issue of impacts on Henry Chadwick Primary School of traffic flow, dust pollution and transport of materials to/from borrow pits. Cllr Stockdale recalled a meeting called at HS2 Ltd’s request on 16.11.16 at which the inevitable impact on the school was agreed, and mitigation offered. Nothing has been heard subsequently. RJ/LD: CoCP will have to be complied with in all aspects. We will re-engage with Henry Chadwick School, eg triple glazing, Forest school etc. Cllr Stockdale will send potential meeting dates to LD. Cllr Tittley indicated that he was surprised to note the inclusion of an island on the junction of Kings Bromley Lane and Lichfield Road, which was not present on earlier plans. RJ: This was part of the most recent iteration and was a necessary addition. Cllr Barnett raised the issue of growing costs of the project to taxpayers. RJ: Funding has been agreed for Phase 2 completion (2010 – 2023) at c.£55bn, including contingency. He asserted that the project was within budget and that no change was envisaged. Cllr Barnett commented that significant funds have already been spent eg on purchase of land and property. Cllr Vernon asked how RJ can be confident that it can be brought in on budget. The Chairman, Cllr Edwards indicated that we should focus to local questions. Cllr Hill asked about the likelihood of Chinese funding for the project. RJ: No. RJ noted that work will begin by September on, for example boreholes which may reduce required land take. Cllr Tittley asked about the quality of work; is it likely to be as poor as the 4track works through Armitage? RJ: There were many technical reasons why that work was so bad. Mitigation was not done due to lack of funding. HS2 Ltd still has to comply with the agreed design even if their contractors go bust. Cllr Hill asked about the potential station at Stafford. RJ: Staffs CC and Cheshire East council are meeting with the Roads minister to discuss the details. RJ: ‘By pass fund’: the DfT is putting funding in place to see if scheme can be brought forward and reduce pressure on communities. This is not part of the Bill, rather a peripheral activity. RJ: Viaduct heights are driven by Environment Agency, especially the latest flood modelling results. The SCC view is sanguine; they believe that HS2 Ltd is being pessimistic and would be content to reduce viaduct heights. Cllr Tittley questioned the viability of the B5014 as a lorry route and insisted that he would continue to work to keep HS2 traffic out of Hill Ridware. He stated that he was totally against HS2 and would do everything in his power to stop it. RJ: Maps and details of the Phase 2a route will be available by the end of the week: in local libraries, eg Rugeley, Lichfield. Cllr Edwards requested a follow up meeting, allowing Cllrs to access maps etc. and consider their response to the consultation.   Meeting closed:  9.00pm