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7th Jul, 2022

MP slams HS2 plans that would send HGVs down local lanes

Sarah Mason 10th Mar, 2022

RESUBMITTED plans from HS2 that would see almost 400 lorry movements on the A452 through Balsall Common have been slammed by local MP Saqib Bhatti.

And he’s written to Solihull Council objecting to the scheme, which would also see HGVs trundling along Kelsey Lane and Waste Lane, with some continuing through Hodgetts Lane and Truggist Lane, both narrrow roads.

Plans of a similar nature submitted by HS2 Ltd were rejected on appeal last December.

Since then the high speed rail company said they have been consulting the local community however, residents say there has been no attempt to consult them.

In his letter Mr Bhatti says: “It is my view that HS2 Limited and its contractor, Balfour Beattie Vince (BBV) have exercised serious disregard for the community of Balsall Common, in particular Kelsey Lane and Waste Lane.

“Despite representations indicating their intention is to work with communities, I have found both HS2 Limited and BBV wanting in this regard.”

The letter continues: “This application falls short of the commitment that HS2 made to be a ‘good neighbour’.

“In the HS2 Community Engagement Strategy, HS2 state ‘Our aspiration is to be a good neighbour every single day, by respecting the people and communities we impact and being sensitive to their needs, earning our social licence to operate.’

“HS2 Ltd and BBV’s conduct in relation to the people of Balsall Common has not been that of a ‘good neighbour’ and they have failed to earn their social licence to operate.”

He adds: “One of the reasons the previous planning application was refused was due to the width of Kelsey Lane being too narrow to allow free flow of traffic and the required volume of HS2 lorries without compromising pedestrian safety.

“This was also referred to in the Planning Inspector’s decision notice in dismissing HS2’s appeal.

“Nothing in this application changes that – the width of Kelsey Lane remains the same regardless of the road safety measures that HS2 have proposed.

“It is clear they have failed to do adequate work to assess alternative routes put forward which would have less impact on the village of Balsall Common.

“I urge HS2 Limited and BBV to come up with alternative solutions in collaboration with the local community in Balsall Common.

“The people of Balsall Common deserve respect and much better than they are being offered.”

An HS2 spokesperson said: “Our priority is to minimise impacts on local communities wherever possible.

“We are building a haul road in this area, which will take construction traffic off local roads and reduce impacts, but until the road is built we need to use the existing local road network.

“We are actively working on an alternative with the intention to use Hallmeadow Road which will reduce the volume of lorries through the overall area, reduce the distance travelled on public roads by HGVs, and avoid the use of less suitable roads like Waste Lane.”

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