Birmingham news Hundreds of HS2 lorries could cause tragedy in Solihull village - fear MetiNews.Com
MetiNews.Com - Mayor calls meeting as campaign against plans gathers steam
Breaking News ! Bringing 100s of HS2 lorries a day along village roads in Solihull could end in tragedy, it is feared. Residents have vented fresh anger and frustration over the rail project's proposals to take construction traffic through Balsall Common. These include fear that the use of rural routes may result in a devastating, even fatal, accident. A trio of planning applications last month triggered a massive backlash locally, with urgent calls for bosses to think again. A petition, which has drawn more than 2,000 signatures, demands a dedicated haul route along the railway trace - arguing that HS2 had "failed to explain" why this wasn't possible. Read More Related Articles Sign up to BirminghamLive's free politics newsletter for daily headlines Following the outcry, West Midlands Mayor Andy Street had organised a public meeting, via Zoom, to listen to fears. While HS2 had not sent a spokesman to the session, the project - which maintains it wants to "minimise" the impact - has made the offer of further discussions with the community to try and break the deadlock. Mr Street, who had last week taken concerns to the project's present chairman, Allan Cook, said there were real worries about the handling of the process but believed campaigning could force change. Mayor Andy Street had previously written to HS2 chairman Allan Cook and spoken to him late last week. Resident Graham Edwards had grave concern about the impact on road safety, describing the proposals as "high risk." "There is an extremely, I think, high chance that someone will be killed or seriously injured," he said. "I'm not talking about them being negligent in anyway but I'm talking about the simple fact that with these sort of vehicles going down those sort of roads someone will get frustrated and they will do something and we'll end up with loss of life. "Because these roads are not designed by any traffic engineer for this type of use." The proposals could see up to 200 lorries - which will serve key construction depots - each way per day during the most intensive period of the building project. Read More Related Articles Wood-fired pizza to be served at Solihull bakery despite shopping parade fears Read More Related Articles 'Bomb-proof' home with walls 13-inches thick in stunning plan for old wartime power station Andrew Ogilvie, who had launched the online petition which has drawn so much support, said there were many unanswered questions. "It's that sense of not really being listened to by HS2 and the sense that they will just carry on progressing the way they will want to," he said. "That's the main frustration being felt by many others involved in this long before I got involved in March.
." Fellow villager Gary Hall said: "Has HS2 made any progress on a dedicated haul route? Or in their mind are they just doing nothing and just ignoring it and thinking they're just going to steamroller these applications."
HS2 contractors say Hallmeadow Road offers the opportunity to avoid taking traffic through a much busier section of public highway.
(Image: HS2 Ltd)
Richard Lloyd, a veteran campaigner on the issue, said: "It's hard to see why they haven't done any study of options which would take the vehicles off the public highway." Meriden MP Saqib Bhatti, who chaired the online session, said he was well aware of local concerns but stressed the importance of continuing to push for a different approach. The meeting also heard from Mr Street and Meriden ward councillor Tony Dicicco, who has also chaired the council's HS2 implementation advisory group since 2019. Despite being a supporter of building the rail project, the region's Mayor had insisted he wouldn't be afraid to challenge problems that arose. "My experience is that they can be brought to heel to change their proposals," he said, citing recent success in altering car parking plans for the Arden Cross site.
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"You have my word that I will try to do my best to change their view." Giving his assessment of the current situation, he said: "I think they are acknowledging what was in the [HS2] Act was a non-starter, and I think their instinct is that their alternative proposal of Hallmeadow Road is a good step forward. "Now clearly it is better but the point that residents are quite rightly making is that it's still not good enough." HS2's contractor, Balfour Beatty Vinci, had argued earlier this year that the Hallmeadow Road option would be far less disruptive than an alternative proposal, which would rely heavily on the A45 Kenilworth Road and other "busier" routes.
Cllr Dicicco said the issue was causing a lot of "angst" in Berkswell and Balsall Common. "[We want a scheme] built so that it takes the vast majority of HS2's Heavy Goods Vehicles off our local roads and puts them on a route which does not cause major problems." In a statement last month, HS2 had said that it was "Our priority is to minimise impacts on local communities wherever possible." It reiterated that its preferred option would mean far less congestion on roads deemed more problematic. It's understood that the three applications submitted will go to Solihull's planning committee for consideration either later this month or possibly in May.
Source = MetiNews.Com