HS2 Phase 2 Fradley to Crewe - ‘Safeguarding’ Consultation07 January 2015
In November 2014, HS2 Ltd issued on behalf of the Department for Transport, a consultation on the Secretary of State’s proposal to put in place ‘Safeguarding’ of the current route for part of the Phase 2 Birmingham to Manchester arm. This consultation closed on 6th January, and IWA has made a response. The section runs from Fradley to Crewe, and affects the now single viaduct crossing of the Trent & Mersey Canal above Shade House Lock and the crossing above Great Haywood around the marina entrance some 650m north of Great Haywood Junction. At Fradley, the ‘Safeguarding’ maps show the ‘original’ route as the base, whereas the announced route changes (September 2014) may require the Phase 2 crossing to move slightly. At Great Haywood Marina, the ‘Safeguarding’ maps include the marina entrance and a section of berths north of the east-west running route, as well as car parking and environmental planting to the north of the marina.
The section of route covered by the consultation is that first suggested by Sir David Higgins (Chair of HS2 Ltd) in his initial review of the project in March 2014. His "HS2 Plus" report recommended that the line from Birmingham to a new regional transport hub at Crewe be constructed by 2027, six years earlier than planned. This was intended to integrate road and rail services for the region as a whole, delivering faster services more quickly to Manchester, the North West and on to Scotland. The Secretary of State asked HS2 Ltd to include this proposal in its work on the consultation responses he had invited to the Preferred Phase 2 Routes which closed on 31st January 2014.
Sir David Higgins produced a second report, "Rebalancing Britain" on 27th October 2014, in which he reiterated this proposal, and set out others to improve east-west connectivity from Liverpool to Hull, in the form of a ‘Northern Strategy’ for transport.
As a result of these reports and support from cities in the region for the acceleration of this section of the route, the Secretary of State stated he "considers the material is sufficiently persuasive in favour of an onward connection from Phase One through Crewe. It is therefore appropriate to consult on issuing safeguarding directions for that part of the route now".
‘Safeguarding’ here is a process which, if approved, will require local authorities with planning responsibilities on this section of route (designated on detailed plans accompanying the Safeguarding Consultation) to consult with HS2 Ltd when considering conflicting developments within the safeguarded corridor. Basically, it should ensure that no new development goes ahead, which will increase the difficulty of constructing this section, and also trigger certain compensation-type options for landowners under ‘statutory blight’ from HS2’s development.
IWA’s response is one mainly of principle. The Secretary of State’s Department for Transport has been considering the Phase 2 responses for 11 months without coming to any public conclusion across the whole route. It would be much better and more transparent for all affected if the Phase 2 route had been confirmed first rather than (as here) a section is being ‘safeguarded’ before the route itself is clear. As the consultation document itself states (Section 2.1.14), "further work will be required to finalise the Phase Two route to enable the Government to make a decision, and this work may include further changes to this element of the route corridor in the light of further development" – potentially meaning the safeguarding could be in the wrong place, development could be prevented unnecessarily and equally allowed to go ahead on the final confirmed route. IWA’s own Phase 2 Preferred Route response suggested changes to the route at both waterway impacted sites, on which no feedback has been received.
IWA concludes the Phase 2 route consultation response may be delayed for political rather than practical reasons. This means individuals, organisations and businesses may suffer additional upheaval and impact unnecessarily as a result of opting for ‘Safeguarding’ now rather than after the route had been confirmed, as was the case for Phase 1.
Download IWA's HS2 Crewe - Fradley Safeguarding Consultation Response (PDF, 249KB).
Download IWA’s 31st January 2014 Response to the whole Phase 2 Route Consultation.
Photo: Trent & Mersey Canal at Fradley (copyright Waterway Images, Harry Arnold)