HS2 funds blasted as ‘insulting’ by Warwickshire County Council

HS2 artist's impression

HS2 artist's impression

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Newly announced community funding packages by HS2 Ltd have been blasted by Warwickshire County Council as the authority prepares to take its case for mitigation to Parliament.

The Department for Transport will offer £30 million to communities along the London to Birmingham route adversely affected by the High Speed 2 railway.

The Community and Environment Fund, and Business and Local Economy Fund are to cover public projects such as refurbishing community centres.

But Cllr Bob Stevens, HS2 cabinet member at Warwickshire County Council, branded the offerings “derisory” and a “damp squib”.

“This is a pitiful amount of funding which is expected to be shared out amongst hundreds of organisations along the route,” he said.

“It is, quite frankly, insulting to those communities that are going to bear the major impact of the construction phase and subsequent disruption created by this line. It was hailed as a remedy for the ills of this expensive railway, but they are obviously not prepared to put their hands in their pockets to reasonably compensate communities.”

Peter Delow, chairman of the Cubbington Action Group Against HS2, said: “There will be a lot of competition for grants and there isn’t a lot to go round. If you look at the amount compared to how much HS2 will cost it is tiny. It is welcome but it’s not a lot in the grand scheme of things.”

A HS2 Ltd spokesperson said the fund was not intended to cover mitigation but to provide additional benefit.

Transport Minister Robert Goodwill said: “These new funds are in addition to the comprehensive package we have already announced and will further help communities and businesses make the most of this once in a generation scheme and crucial part of the government’s long-term economic plan.”

The council’s presentation will be heard by a select committee at Westminster next week.

The document calls for improvements to Kenilworth Greenway and compensation for disruption to Kenilworth.