HIGH Legh councillor Kate Parkinson says she remained ‘gravely concerned’ about the impact Phase 2a of HS2 would have on her ward.

Cllr Parkinson voiced her concerns at Wednesday’s full meeting of Cheshire East Council, at which she raised the question of the viability of Phase 2a of the high speed project.

Cllr Parkinson asked Cheshire East Council and deputy leader, Cllr Craig Browne, why they seemed to feel the scheme was still considered necessary.

She told the meeting: “I attended the environment and scrutiny meeting last Monday and listened to the presentation on HS2 by Cheshire East officers.

“While I understand the regeneration plan for Crewe, I have received no assurances the route from Manchester to Crewe has been considered in the current climate in terms of the impact on the environment and the environment strategy, the spiralling cost and effect of Covid- 19.

“We are in the midst of a pandemic, and I fear Cheshire East is blindly going forward on a route that is pre-Covid without taking in these factors.”

She said she remained ‘gravely concerned’ about Phase 2a, and questioned whether officers understood the changing environments, whether Phase 2a was necessary or considered the impact it would have on her ward, in particular the ‘devastating effect on the environment, livelihoods and heritage’.

She said: “It will take away the identity of the countryside.

“The Government has asked Cheshire East to reflect and review HS2 plans in light of the current pandemic. As such, Cheshire East Council could not clarify that they were in talks with the Government on this matter.

“Secondly, considering officers suggested in the environment and regeneration committee at Monday’s meeting that train patronage may not recover for five years, people are now re-evaluating traditional working environments.

“Would it not be wiser for Cheshire East to look at our current digital infrastructure, which currently cannot sufficiently accommodate for the changing work model?

“Surely planning ahead for the new world we are heading into would prove vital at this stage, rather than pushing ahead with an idea that no longer fits the mould.”

At Wednesday’s full council meeting members agreed to review Schedule 17 arrangements on a fortnightly basis.

Schedule 17 applications lay out the detail by which HS2 Ltd can construct the necessary buildings, infrastructure and ancillary works to complete the project.