'We will fight this dreadful HS2 plan', promises Bill Cash
VETERAN MP Bill Cash has warned a 'war of attrition' is being organised against the Government's planned HS2 link.
He said the battle lines were being drawn both inside Parliament and in the community to stop the controversial high-speed railway which proposes to cut through several peaceful villages in his Stone constituency.
And during a packed public meeting the Tory MP promised he will have no hesitation in opposing his own front bench on the issue.
Mr Cash told 250 protesters at Whitmore Village Hall on Saturday: "This policy was started by Labour and followed up by the Coalition – but I don't always agree with the Coalition.
"We will not let Whitmore be contaminated by these proposals, which have such a flawed business case. We will fight them."
The proposed route involves a deep cutting carved through part of the picturesque village to send trains into a tunnel under Whitmore Heath.
The MP heard how the day after it was announced, the Department of Health had sent some residents letters saying they proposed to issue compulsory purchase orders on their homes.
But then they received follow-up mail to say they would not be required after all as they were not in the path of the line.
He was also told how some letters had gone to the wrong addresses and worried householders needlessly.
Mr Cash, who has also addressed meetings in Madeley, Swynnerton and Stone, said: "The process is clearly a shambles already. It all came like a bolt out of the blue. How they managed to keep it secret is astonishing.
"The blight on homes this will cause is dreadful and the compensation offers woefully inadequate.
"There is absolutely no benefit for this part of Staffordshire from this proposal.
"All MPs all along the route of HS2 are involved in the war of attrition to oppose it. And every single person living beside the line has a right to petition Parliament."
Joe Rukin, co-ordinator of the national StopHS2 campaign, said: "We are not NIMBYs who have no regard for the national interest. The fact is this is no more than a vanity project which will destroy neighbourhoods, suck jobs down to London and see unemployment rise in cities not connected to the link."
The village has formed an action group to join the other 80 already created across the country to fight the plan.
Around 50 local authorities have also voiced their opposition.
Chris Dawes, who lives directly above the proposed tunnel, said: "We must flat-out challenge the justification for this.
"But if it goes ahead we need to mitigate its effects to ensure this area is still liveable in."