THE BATTLE against the proposed high speed rail route through Stafford Borough has started - just days after the plans were revealed.
Residents have been urged to form action groups to fight the HS2 plans, which will carve up farmland, businesses and homes across the borough if approved.
Areas set to be affected include the Haywoods, Yarlet and Swynnerton, where Stone MP Bill Cash held his first public meeting on Saturday for residents.
Colwich resident Rolfe Pearce also held a public meeting on Saturday at Great Haywood Memorial Hall, which was packed out.
Mr Pearce was joined by Stafford MP Jeremy Lefroy to give a presentation on how HS2 proposals will affect the villages.
Mr Pearce said: “The issues are clear for the people of Staffordshire, we are a collection of small communities who are affected by HS2, and they don’t want us to band together and fight this plan.
“It has become clear that the parish councils have a vital role in fighting these proposals, but it is not up to them to organise protest groups from residents.
“The protest groups need to be vocal and loud.”
Saturday’s meeting at Swynnerton Cricket Club was so oversubscribed many people had to view and hear proceedings through the windows.
More than 200 people turned up, including local councillors, residents and farmers affected by the plans and Joe Rukin, campaign co-ordinator for national campaign group Stop HS2.
He said: “I had a presentation to do but there are just too many people here, which is wonderful to be honest.
Mr Cash, standing on a chair so he could be seen by the crowd, told the meeting: “We have a bank of knowledge, we have experience, we have determination and we have an objective.
That objective is to stop this business on the behalf of the people of this area,” he said.
Mr Cash has organised further meetings - at 11am at Stone Station Community Centre and Whitmore Village Hall at 1.30pm.