HS2 in Staffordshire: 'High-speed rail link will ruin our picturesque countryside'
CAMPAIGNERS are preparing to fight controversial plans for a high speed rail link which will cut through vast swathes of countryside.
Moments after the proposals were made public community leaders and families from a number of affected neighbourhoods called for the route to be reconsidered.
The High Speed 2 track will pass through a number of areas within the region including Betley, Madeley, Whitmore, Baldwins Gate, Swynnerton, Crewe and Stafford before it travels out of the north and south of the area.
While the track runs alongside the existing West Coast Mainline through Crewe it splits off close to Wrinehill where it veers across open space and existing road networks.
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In Swynnerton residents claim the line will destroy the character of the village.
Designs show the track passing through Clifford's Wood before crossing approach roads including the A51, A519 and the key stretch which leads into the heart of the village.
Swynnerton councillor Stan Highfield, who lives in the village, said: "I have had residents getting in touch who are really annoyed by this as it will blight a big part of the village.
"The effect this will have on residents and their properties will be tremendous. I plan to fight this all the way."
The track continues through Swynnerton Grange before running close to the M6 as the track leads south.
Councillor Highfield added: "The years of construction will also have a devastating affect on the area and that in itself will cause a lot of problems."
Retired hospital engineer Graham Harper, who has lived on Frobisher Drive for more than 20 years, said: "I don't agree with the line at all. It's a waste of money and it will probably cost even more by the time they come to finish it."
The 72-year-old car enthusiast added: "We just don't want it through here at all and it will spoil a nice little village.
"It will do a lot of damage to the farmland around here too. "We want to preserve the character of our area."
Ed Lawton is landlord of the Fitzherbert Arms pub which sits in the centre of the village.
The 42-year-old, who took over the venue eight months ago, said: "Since being here I have fallen in love with the village. This is a small area and it seems excessive for the track to be running through it.
"While all the construction works are going on it is going to cut us off."
Protests are also planned in Madeley where the line will run through the Bar Hill end of the village and require a tunnel to be constructed for the route to pass beneath the A525 before crossing Station Road.
Community leaders have already raised concerns over the impact the line could have on wildlife, a set of historic allotments and playing fields.
Madeley parish council chairman Bill Welsh said: "I can guarantee that the people of Madeley will not simply accept this and there will be protests. We will look to set up an action committee and stage a public meeting soon.
"I would like someone to come down here and explain exactly where the route will go. I'm worried it will wipe out some allotments which have been in the area for 100 years.
"I don't feel there has really been any consultation. It feels like we have been told this is what is happening."
Through Whitmore the route will pass over woodland before crossing Heath Road and Whitmore Road.
But villagers have remained positive over the potential development.
Trevor Gould, aged 57, of Fair-Green Road, said: "I already live next to a railway and it doesn't bother me, but I am a train enthusiast. There was a lot of controversy about the first high speed route but now you don't hear anything. The more we get for the north the better."