A COLTON Councillor has labelled plans for a high-speed rail line - which she says will obliterate sections of the village – a ‘rich man's toy’.
Speaking after a preliminary meeting in the village to form an action group in protest to the plans for HS2, Councillor Emma Godwin, vice chair of the parish council said the proposed line would not be accessible to the general public due to the high costs of travel.
“What is the point in spending in excess of £33billion pounds on something that may not have a local station for local people?” she said. “HS2 will be a rich mans toy and not accessible to the general public due to cost.
“The proposed track will obliterate Stockwell Heath, Hadley Gate, Blithbury, Pipe Ridware and surrounding areas,” said Councillor Godwin.
She said 15 metre high viaduct was planned for Pipe Ridware as part of the route with the track running over one of the highest points in Colton village at one point on top of an embankment some 15 metres above normal level.
“This coupled with an extra 8m of pylons on top will make it visible to a wide area including Rugeley.”
Councillor Godwin said with the proposed track only a mile away from the existing West Coast Main Line at points it would make more sense to run them side by side offering an easy back up should either fail.
She said the meeting had highlighted the fact the consultation period for exceptional hardship was coming to an end in April.
“Those with elderly relatives in nursing homes need to be aware that building societies are starting to refuse mortgages on properties situated in a HS2 area,” she said. “The track could be half a mile or more away from a property and a mortgage could be refused.”
Councillor Godwin pointed out a case recently highlighted in the national press where an elderly lady with buyers for her lifelong home couldn’t secure a mortgage despite her house being more than half a mile away from the line.
“With education and the NHS crying out for more funding wouldn't the money be better spent in those areas?” she said. “Yes the rail system needs an overhaul and bottlenecks sorting out but does it really need a whole new system while the existing system disintegrates through lack of drivers and funding?”
The action group is scheduled to meet again this Friday at 7pm at Colton Village Hall.