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Osborne: 'I had no say on HS2 route through Tatton'
TATTON MP has insisted he has had no say in the proposed HS2 route that could see the line run through a huge chunk of his constituency.
George Osborne told the Guardian he had been told by engineers that the £33 billion route – which will head through Mere, Tabley, Millington, High Legh, Ashley and Rostherne – was chosen as it was the one which was ‘least disruptive’.
“I completely understand how difficult this is for those who have homes along the proposed route, and this is a proposed route and the Department of Transport is consulting on it,” he said.
“The route was decided completely independently by expert engineers, and so I had absolutely no involvement in it whatsoever at any point in the process of deciding the route.
“As I understand it they have tried to choose a route that is as least disruptive as possible, but obviously it is going to be disruptive to some people.
“There’s going to be a generous compensation scheme, and we’re going to spend a great deal of money along the line to try and minimise the environmental impact and making sure we use environmental measures to do that.
“We will do everything we can to reduce the impact of the line, but you can’t build a new railway line without affecting some people, and of course I understand how difficult that is.
“I’ve got to make sure people get a fair deal out of the compensation scheme – and it will be a generous one – and people will get more than when motorways are built.”
Residents on the proposed route have been left puzzled as to why it has taken the route it has through Tatton instead of heading north from Crewe, past Holmes Chapel and Mobberley and onto Manchester Airport.
National campaign group the HS2 National Alliance said each mile of the new railway will cost £93 million, with the suggested six-mile detour through that part of Tatton would add more than £500 million to the final cost.
But Mr Osborne said it was impossible to build a rail line without impacting on some residents.
“If you look at the way the line works, it of course peels off to the airport and Manchester, but it also goes on up to Wigan, which means in the future they can extend the line even further up and eventually to Scotland,” he said.
“It is impossible to build a railway line without affecting people, which was true when the Victorians built the railway line through Knutsford, and in the 20th century when we built the M6 – it’s impossible to build these things without impacting on some people.
“It’s impossible to get from Birmingham to Manchester without going through Cheshire, and my job is to make sure if there’s an impact on local communities we do the best we can to help them adjust to it.”
Mr Osborne was in town to present cheques from Manchester Airport to Knutsford Town Council and Mobberley Parish Council in lieu of the runway two compensation deal. He left to speak to parish councils about HS2 at a meeting in Toft.