Rethink “absurd” HS2 plan to split Warburton in two and destroy ancient woodland near Hale Barns, says Sir Graham Brady

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Sir Graham Brady has called on Boris Johnson to rethink the Golborne Spur section of HS2 – which he claims will bring “virtually no benefits” while splitting the village of Warburton in two and destroying ancient woodland close to Hale Barns.

Boris Johnson today gave the green light to the controversial high-speed rail link, which is designed to carry trains capable of travelling at 250mph, cutting the length of a journey from Manchester to London to just 68 minutes.

The second phase to Manchester and Leeds was due to open in 2032-33, but that has now been pushed back to 2035-40.

The Golborne Spur part of the line would see the HS2 line to Manchester cutting through a number of villages, serving a new Manchester Airport station close to the Hale Barns roundabout and then entering an eight-mile to reach a new station adjacent to the existing station at Manchester Piccadilly.

How the new Manchester Airport station could look

The proposed route would cause considerable disruption in the Hale Barns area – with the tunnel section cutting across Hale Road, Hasty Lane and Davenport Green Wood and on through Wythenshawe into Manchester city centre. The new High Speed Station and major car park would be required to be built close to junction 6 of the M56, requiring the demolition of the Marriott Hotel at the Hale Barns roundabout.

And Sir Graham, MP for Altrincham and Sale West, said that all this part of the route succeeded in doing was reducing the journey time between Glasgow and London by eight minutes – despite costing in excess of an additional Β£1bn.

He said: “I welcome the increased priority for an East West connection but there remain some profound problems; the Golborne Spur brings virtually no benefits and costs well in excess of Β£1billion.

“It is patently absurd that the Manchester Airport stop is not at the Airport but would be built on ancient woodland some distance away at Davenport Green.”

The Golborne Spur also cuts through Lymm, Warburton and other places and would pass close to Dunham Massey.

“I’ve been trying to get this removed for a long time,” he added. “Doing so would be a contribution to getting rid of the absurd cost overruns, and would also reduce the environmental damage and prevent Warburton being split in two.”

He also said that the proposed siting of the Manchester Airport station a quarter of a mile from the actual airport – with no plans yet as to how the two would be linked – was “absurd”.

Sir Graham Brady with a representative of the Cheshire Wildlife Trust at ancient woodland near Davenport Green

Sir Graham had met with representatives from the Cheshire Wildlife Trust at ancient woodland near Davenport Green, which would be lost under the plans.

“Destroying a wood isn’t a good thing to do but to do so from choice because you’ve selected the wrong place for the line is just crazy.”

Sir Graham, who called on the Prime Minister to review the Golborne Spur and the airport stop in the House of Commons today, said it was not too late to stop the plans.

He added: “The Prime Minister has announced a review of the 2b part of the route (from Crewe to Manchester and the West Midlands to Leeds) and we have a compelling case.”

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