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Trafford doubts over benefits of HS2
10:50pm Saturday 2nd November 2013 in News
FALLOUT from the proposed High Speed Rail line through Trafford rumbles on after a residents association condemned the effect it could have on the borough.
The second phase of HS2 – which is still under consultation – will see high speed trains travel on a new line from Birmingham, eventually arriving at Manchester Airport and Manchester city centre, travelling through Warburton. Marion McNaughton, chairman of the Warburton HS2 Action Group, is vehemently opposed to the proposed line ending at Golborne, believing it will destroy picturesque agricultural land.
“The impact of the line will be disastrous for the communities it devastates,” she said. “Warburton will be sliced in two, several farm businesses will lose high grade agricultural land in spite of this being designated a protected green belt and conservation area, and homes will be threatened.
“The residents of Warburton and the parish council are completely united in rejecting this proposal as something that will bring only destruction to the ordinary people of Greater Manchester.” However, a Government-commissioned report recently said the alternative to HS2 could create 14 years of weekend route closures and longer journeys for commuters.
Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, is unwavering in his support – which could eventually cost up to £50 billion – adding that Greater Manchester will undoubtedly benefit from it.
He said: “We need a radical solution and HS2 is it. A patch and mend job will not do. HS2 brings massive benefits to the north, is great for commuters and the alternatives just don’t stack up.
“Now is the time to be bold and deliver a world-class railway which Britain deserves and can truly be proud of. Future generations will not forgive us if we fail to take this opportunity.”
The Government also estimates the annual economic boost will be £15 billion and bring £2 worth of benefits for every £1 spent.
FAR from delivering economic prosperity to Trafford, the Warburton HS2 Action Group believes London will be the main beneficiaries of the new line.
The new line will add 18 trains an hour from Leeds and Manchester to the capital, also allowing more freights to run along the busy East Coast, West Coast and Midland Main Lines.
But Warburton HS2 Action Group chairman Marion McNaughton is adamant that rather than bringing growth and jobs to Trafford, it will have the opposite effect.
“This is a railway for the privileged few who can afford the high costs of travel on it and who want to travel at high speed to London,” she said.
“It will suck money, jobs and people to London. It will deny Manchester what it really needs, which is good fast services across the north.”
However Philippa Oldham, head of transport at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, feels the project will benefit the entire country.
“HS2 provides the step change required to help to remove the bottlenecks in our transport infrastructure by increasing our capacity limits and helping to bridge the north-south divide,” she said.
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