SCRUTINY on HS2’s route into Cheshire will be stepped up by councillors.

At Cheshire East’s full council meeting, members ‘overwhelmingly’ voted in favour of a motion to review ‘schedule 17 arrangements’ on a fortnightly basis by planning officers and councillors.

A pre-meeting report says the reason for this is to ensure such applications are dealt with ‘in a timely manner’, which is essential in order for the borough to remain as a ‘Qualifying Authority’.

Should it lose this status, applications would be referred to ‘the Secretary of State [who] would take all decisions on Schedule 17 Applications’.

Schedule 17 applications lay out the detail in which HS2 Ltd — the company tasked with delivering the railway — can construct the necessary buildings, infrastructure, and ancillary works to complete the project.

However, whilst the extra scrutiny measures were voted through, some opposition was voiced from Cllr Kate Parkinson on HS2 more broadly.

The High Legh representative said: “I am here to ask why CEC believe phase 2a is still considered necessary.

“We are in the midst of a pandemic and I fear CEC are blindly going forward on a route that is pre-covid without taking in [environmental and cost] factors.”