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29th Jun, 2022

'Neighbours from hell' - HS2 are slammed over new HGV planning appeal

Ross Crawford 30th Apr, 2022

HS2 have been slammed as the ‘neighbour from hell’ after lodging a second planning appeal to enable them to send juggernauts down narrow lanes in Balsall Common.

Solihull planners had already rejected one planning application back in July last year, a decision upheld by the planning now inspector.

Now following the SMBC’s rejection last month of a second planning application, with, say campaigners, only minor alterations, HS2 has again appealed to the planning inspector.

If given the go-ahead it would see some 400 lorry movements a day down those lanes, says Solihull Councillor Tony Diciccio.

An alternative route, using Hallmeadow Road is available, but to access their own ‘cross country haul road’ HS2 would need to cross 100metres of land which it does not own.

“HS2 Ltd have not done their homework,” said Coun Diciccio who has spoken on behalf of residents before borough planners.

“They knew where things had to be built and how the cross country haul route would allow them to access their sites without sending 400 vehicles a day down narrow lanes.

“This is entirely their own fault – they could have planned this an awful lot better.”

Berkswell Parish Councillor Andrew Burrows said the heart of the matter lay in HS2’s failure to complete the haul road’s crossing of the West Coast Mainline.

“In January 2019 they told Berkswell Parish Council that they would have completed a permanent crossing of it by last year.

“Instead they have been prioritising other work and choosing to send trucks through Balsall Common. It’s a choice they have made.

“That’s why people are so upset.”

Berkswell resident Sheila Cooper added: “HS2 are a law unto themselves and the neighbours from hell and there is no accountability of their actions.”

A spokesperson for HS2 Ltd said they were in negotiation with the landowner in Hallmeadow Road to access their haul road, adding: “Our priority is to minimise impacts on local communities wherever possible.

“We plan to build 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 road network.

“This means using Waste Lane and Kelsey Lane until access to the haul road is ready via Hallmeadow Road.

“Further to consulting with the Council and local residents, our contractor Balfour Beatty VINCI (BBV) submitted a revised application for the use of Waste Lane and Kelsey Lane which incorporated additional mitigation measures.”

The firm estimates that if Hallmeadow Road can be used at the peak of construction there may be around 200 lorries using the road per day.

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