Cheshire East Council is reminding residents that an important deadline is looming on the high-speed rail line HS2.
By midnight on Monday, April 29, people must submit their views on the detail of the Government’s proposal to introduce a discretionary Exceptional Hardship Scheme for phase two of HS2 to address the impact on residential properties and affected businesses.
In January, the Department for Transport (DfT) announced its initial preferred route, which runs through much of Cheshire East.
While welcoming the economic benefits the scheme will bring to the Borough, and also pushing for a dedicated HS2 rail hub in Crewe, the Council understands that it is not all good news for everybody.
Although the Exceptional Hardship Scheme consultation is not the formal consultation on the HS2 route and stations (this is due to start any time from July of this year), it is no less important.
Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council, explained: “You must make the Government aware of how this could affect homes and businesses in your area.
“Your parish or town needs to have a strong, united voice, so I recommend that anyone who believes they will be directly affected by HS2 takes the time to fill in this consultation form.
“Residents in places like Buckinghamshire and Warwickshire have remained united and strong throughout the development of phase one of HS2 and it is important that our communities do the same if we want to achieve the best outcome for residents and the Borough.”
Residents can take part in the consultation by visiting http://www.hs2.org.uk/have-your-say/consultations/phase-two/exceptional-hardship-scheme
If anyone is unable to access the internet, they can contact HS2 on 0300 123 1102 to order a hard copy by post.
There is also a wealth of information at www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/hs2 where further detail on the route and exactly where it runs can be found. There is also a link through to the Exceptional Hardship Scheme consultation page.
Councillor Jones added: “In the meantime, I would like to thank all those who have given us their thoughts on HS2 in Cheshire East through our website, through the Facebook forum and over the phone. Do keep them coming in.
“We may not be able to reply to every representation but you can rest assured that your Council is listening to you and, on your behalf, we will be making sure that both the DfT and HS2 Ltd understand your concerns.”
Additional to the Exceptional Hardship Scheme consultation, residents can get involved in this important debate by visiting www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/hs2 and filling in our online web form, calling 01270 686022 or emailing email@example.com
There is also a link to a Facebook page, where users can debate HS2 among themselves. The Council is monitoring this and will be extracting the comments made to help shape its argument to the Government.
Meanwhile, the HS2 public enquiries team is available on 020 7944 4908 or HS2enquiries@hs2.org.uk