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Updated: High Speed 2 phase two revealed
9:42am Monday 28th January 2013 in News
CAMPAIGNERS claim the HS2 project will take more jobs away from the north and into London, after details of the route beyond Birmingham were revealed today.
The company behind the controversial scheme say it is vital to generating economic growth in the north of the country and to improve transport connections between major cities.
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But those opposed to the planned line say by the time it eventually gets built the need for growth will have disappeared - and residents will actually receive a poorer rail service.
The plans unveiled by the Department of Transport and HS2 Ltd this morning show two Y shaped spur lines will be built north of Birmingham.
One to the east will go on to Leeds via stops at Toton Sidings, to the south of Nottingham, and Meadowhall, near Sheffield. The other goes north west to Crewe, where it will again split to create new lines onward to Manchester and Liverpool.
The Government says improved infrastructure will lead to an eventual growth in the northern economy - but opponents to the scheme say the north needs to be regenerated now, not when the line is completed in 2033.
Penny Gaines, chairman of the Stop HS2 campaign group, said: "The Government talks about jobs, and regenerating the north, but in reality, high speed rail projects elsewhere have sucked jobs to the capital cities, away from the regions. HS2 focuses on long distance journeys, when the main passenger growth is in regional and local areas.
"Again and again with HS2 we’ve heard talk of connectivity, but what it really means is connectivity with London. HS2 is a London-centric proposal that seems focused on extending the London commuter belt beyond Birmingham, when we need to create an engine for growth in the north, providing access to jobs for people who want to live and work in the north."
Independent Chiltern District Councillor Seb Berry, who was elected onto the authority under an anti-HS2 ticket, said: "Today David Cameron, George Osborne and Nick Clegg all tried to spin the HS2 Y announcement as vital for growth. But no one seriously believes that HS2 has anything to do with growing our way out of austerity.
"The north needs growth now. HS2 will make zero difference to our short-term economic prospects and do nothing to help the UK avoid an almost certain triple-dip recession."
He added: "Enough is enough. The May County Council elections provide an early opportunity for local voters right across Bucks and in other affected Shires to deliver their verdict."
Buckinghamshire County Council Leader Martin Tett, who is also Chairman of the 51m Alliance of 18 local authorities opposed to HS2, said: "A major concern that we have is that many towns and cities will be shocked to discover that they will actually receive a poorer train service if HS2 is built. Stations such as Toton Sidings and Meadowhall are far from city centres. West Coast Main Line and Midland Main Line services to many existing stations are certain to be reduced.
"At the same time HS2 will blight the lives, property and businesses of tens of thousands of people. Houses will be unsaleable and jobs lost across the Midlands and elsewhere. Only those directly on the route will receive compensation. Those nearby will have to wait until 2034 at the earliest to see if they get anything."
A statement on HS2 Ltd's website read: "HS2 is not just about connections to London. By linking Birmingham, Sheffield, Manchester, Leeds, it will provide fast services between cities which are not currently well connected.
"The stations in Leeds, Sheffield, the East Midlands and Birmingham would each be separated by a journey of less than 20 minutes, making daily commuting easy and providing a high speed line that would integrate their economies as never before."
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