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HS2: £600m 'detour' in Cheshire

Tuesday 29 January 2013

HS2: £600m 'detour' in Cheshire

The Government yesterday unveiled the route for Phase 2 of the High Speed 2 rail line project: 2 new legs from Birmingham to Manchester and Birmingham to Leeds.

The western leg to Manchester does not follow a straight alignment but veers off a straight line by at least 6 miles. Each mile of the line will cost £93 million to build. The route avoids some of the wealthier parts of Cheshire including Prestbury, Wilmslow and Alderley Edge.

Steve Rodrick, the chief officer of the Chilterns Conservation Board, is incensed by the detour:

"Those of us in the Chilterns were told that there was no choice but to bisect the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty because high-speed railways have to be straight, so we are bewildered why HS2, north of Birmingham, veers miles off the straightest alignment. We want to know why greater efforts were not made to avoid the Chiltern Hills."

Phase 1 of HS2 from London to Birmingham follows a much straighter route than Phase 2 and cuts through the heart of the Chilterns AONB at its widest point.

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