Ashby MP Predicts '27 Years Of Blight' after HS2 Talks With Prime Minister Boris Johnson

By Graham Hill

10th Feb 2020 | Local News

  • Andrew Bridgen was part of HS2 meeting with Boris Johnson last week
  • Ashby MP says project will drag on to 2040 and bring no benefits to this area
  • High speed line is planned to follow A42 route near Ashby and Measham
  • He now believes costs for the project could hit £200billion
  • Told Prime Minister allowing HS2 to go ahead sets a dangerous precedent
  • Says project will 'feed London' and 'suck money and talent' from the regions

Ashby MP Andrew Bridgen fears 'a total of 27 years of blight' for this area after a meeting with the Prime Minister about the future of HS2.

Mr Bridge confirmed Boris Johnson will make a decision on whether or not to press ahead with project this week

He was one of a number of MPs to put his point across to the Prime Minister last Wednesday.

And he believes if the project does go ahead then there will be no obvious benefit for North West Leicestershire.

He also says the hugely over-budget projects, which is expected to get the green light tomorrow, will eventually cost in the region of £200billion.

The planned HS2 from Birmingham to Leeds is due to go follow the route of the A42 and comes close to Ashby with a number of businesses in and around the area affected.

Speaking to Ashby Nub News, Mr Bridgen said: "I spoke to the Prime Minister on Wednesday in a meeting with the Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps, there were about 50 MPs present.

"There were people for and against, we made our pitches and I would expect a decision he'll making a decision this week.

"I think the Prime Minister is of the opinion that it all has to happen as we've put so much money in, or it all has to stop.

"To stop it would cost around, I think, £13 billion. But in business and life, your first loss is your best loss, it seems strange that they've rewarded people who managed this project so badly, they started out with a 20 year job to deliver the railway, they've spent £13billion, no track has been laid, and they now they they need another 20 years.

"I said seven years ago it'd be over £100billion when it was £32billion and we've shot through that, it's going to be £200billion.

"Now the end has moved out to 2040 and, if that is the case we'll have suffered the blight from 2013, and that is 27 years - and we're not going to get to benefit from it anyway in this area.

"I told the Prime Minister that, if he let's this go ahead, he is setting the bar very, very low for any future infrastructure project. What will they say if they go over-budget? It'll be: 'You didn't stop HS2, we're not as bad as them, It's not the way to go on.

"I think the Prime Minister realises it's not a winning decision, if it goes ahead, it's not going to get better, it's going to get worse and an Albatross around the Government's neck.

"But so much money has been sunk into it. I think it'll be good money after bad.

'We've pulled projects before, when we came to power in 2010, we cancelled Labour's computer project for the NHS, that was £10billion lost."

Mr Bridgen says that belief that HS2 is designed to distribute seats of power away from London and to the Midlands and the north, is a false one.

"The only people that like HS2 more than dislike it is London, and that is because when they are forced to travel to the Midlands and the north, they want to get home faster, and spend less time there," he added.

"The faster you can get to London, which is the finest city in the world, specially, economically and culturally, the more it will suck money and talent out of the regions.

"We need east-west communications to create critical mass in the Midlands so that people have the economic opportunities which mean they don't need to go to London.

"This is all about feeding London and that's what it will do. Do you think someone in London is going to think: "There's a nice play on at the Hippodrome in Birmingham this evening, let's nip up there for the night'?

"Or will people in Birmingham be more likely to say 'There's 30 plays on in the West End, let's go down there."


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