Council welcomes confirmation that HS2 link will be built close to Ashby and Measham - but accepts there will be opposition to the scheme locally

  Posted: 18.11.21 at 16:12 by Ashby Nub News

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North West Leicestershire District Council has welcomed confirmation that an HS2 link between Birmingham and the East Midlands is to go ahead.

The route to East Midlands Parkway is likely to pass close to Ashby and Measham - and the council says this gives 'certainty' to residents and local businesses.

But Cllr Robert Ashman says he can understand opposition to the scheme as there will be no stations in this district.

However, HS2 documentation appears to show that work may not start on this route until the mid-2030s with completion set for sometime in the 2040s.

A statement from North West Leicestershire Council today (Thursday) gave a reaction to the news and says: "The Government has today published its Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) for the North and the Midlands.

"The plan states that:

MP Andrew Bridgen has been a long-time opponent of HS2

• A high-speed line will be built between Birmingham and the East Midlands

• HS2 trains will go direct to Nottingham, Derby and Sheffield

• The Midland Mainline through Leicester and Leicestershire, and on to Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield will be electrified, taking more diesel engines off the system

"In an initial response to the plan, Councillor Robert Ashman, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Infrastructure at North West Leicestershire District Council, said: “After much speculation, we are pleased to have a final decision on the future of HS2 through our district as this gives certainty to our residents and businesses.

"As we get to grips with the detail of the plan, it’s important that we continue to support our communities that are impacted by the new railway and help them plan for the future.

How the new line could look in years to come

“We have engaged positively with HS2 throughout the early processes and will continue with this approach.

"This active work makes sure our voice is heard and we can more successfully promote the businesses, jobs, and natural and historic assets that make North West Leicestershire what it is, whilst accepting modernisation of the national rail network with the necessary mitigation to minimise its impact.

“It’s fair to say that North West Leicestershire isn’t well served by rail, and I can understand residents opposing HS2, with its station outside of our district.

"We’re hopeful that the other elements of the rail plan, particularly the electrification of the Midland Main Line will improve rail connectivity across the midlands and be beneficial to us both economically and in terms of our zero carbon goals.”

Speaking before today's announcement, Ashby MP Andrew Bridgen welcomed news that the planned Birmingham-Leeds link would be scrapped completely.

He had called for a station to be built between Ashby and Coalville, but today's announcement does not appear to contain that proposal.

Mr Bridgen said: “We’ve known for years that HS2 would be a massive white elephant that would bring nothing but blight to North West Leicestershire.

“I’m pleased that the government are talking about sensible options to improve connectivity and there is a real opportunity for North West Leicestershire here.

"A fast line between Nottingham and Birmingham means that we can start making realistic calls for a station right here in the constituency, possibly at somewhere like the Lounge coal washing site between Ashby and Coalville.

“North West Leicestershire is one of the few constituencies in Britain that do not benefit from rail connectivity and it’s not difficult to see how a station could connect with the new line and on to the West Coast mainline and destinations onwards from Birmingham."

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