KNUTSFORD residents have called on the leader of Cheshire East Council to stand up for them in their fight against the high speed train line that is planned to cut through the Tatton constituency.

More than 200 residents attended a public meeting at Cottons Hotel on Monday to protest about plans for the High Speed Two (HS2) route in Knutsford with the leader of CEC, Clr Michael Jones, vowing to get the ‘best deal’ possible for the people of Cheshire East.

In February, the route for HS2 was announced with Pickmere, Tabley, Mere, Millington, Rostherne and Ashley all set to be affected if the plans are turned into a reality.

Since its announcement, affected residents have been campaigning to block the plans but were told on Monday that HS2 is a done deal.

Clr Jones said: “When I became leader last May I was given a fait accompli that HS2 was coming through Cheshire East.

“We fought very hard and said our preferred route, if we were going to have it, was to have it go to Salford.

“We fought hard for that but unfortunately Manchester made a deal where they are going to pay for the line and that’s the reality we have.

“We will work with you as long and hard as it takes to make sure we considerably ameliorate the impact going forward as best we can.

“My job as a politician is to try to get the best deal – I can support you 100 per cent.”

Residents asked that CEC oppose the plans, but Clr Jones said this would not help matters.

“If we oppose it we have been told that we won’t be able to get much negotiations in this.

“At the end of the day I know you don’t like hearing this, CEC have been very clear from day one that it’s coming through our area.

“I understand how passionate you all are and I am happy to fight hard to get you the best conditions I can.

“We are not in favour of it – we are trying to get the best deal we can if we are going to get it.

“I have been told that this is a done deal and it’s not going to move and it is going to happen. I am not going to waste any time trying to stop it. If I thought I could stop it I would.”

Clr Jones urged residents to write to George Osborne and voice their concerns and vowed to give Knutsford residents a voice in London.

An alternative route using the existing train lines from Crewe was presented by one resident, with Clr Jones promising to take it to the Department for Transport and make sure the option is evaluated.

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