A few Points to Consider for your Consultation Response

Question 1 - Non-Technical Summary (NTS)

My obvious concerns as a resident of Baldwins Gate / Madeley Park Wood on this report are:

·         The Highways plans during the construction plan which spans over a number of years is catastrophic to the area and to commuters travelling through, not to mention impact to Emergency Service vehicles access to the area and its residents

·         There is no mention of the noise and visual amenity disruption and disturbance in Madeley Park Wood

·         Unacceptable that the ancient woodland in the area is to be reduced – little or no mention of the wildlife, particularly the deer

·         Carbon efficiency is a key factor in the report yet no mention of how the local community in Stoke on Trent and surrounding areas will have further to travel in their cars to join the operational HS2, probably to Crewe.  More emissions in addition to the extra cost to the traveller and also the extra time spent travelling to stations

These issues can be avoided by choosing option D9-11.3 as the preferred option.

Question 2 - Volume 1 – Introduction and methodology

It is abundantly clear that option D9-11.3 (as detailed in section 2.5 of Volume 2: Community Area (CA) reports and map books) should be the preferred proposal for the Whitmore Heath to Madeley section of the route. 

Question 3 - Community Area 4 - Whitmore Heath to Madeley

It is abundantly clear that option D9-11.3 (as detailed in section 2.5 of the report) should be the preferred proposal for the Whitmore Heath to Madeley section of the route. 

The current proposal in this area is a massive over-intensification of engineering works that negatively impacts the area on every level; it effects people, community, properties, woodland, wildlife, highways, etc.  Baldwins Gate / Madeley Park Wood and the area and its community will be ruined and never be the same should the proposal go ahead. 

Option D9-11.3 would reduce/eliminate much of the disruption currently tabled.

·         Construction of the longer, deeper tunnel would be simplified in comparison

·         Highways works would be significantly reduced, including no need to divert the A53

·         There would be no need to raise the A53 by 7m between Whitmore & the Mainwaring Arms

·         There would be significantly less disruption during construction

·         There would be significantly reduced movements of construction vehicles resulting in less pollution, less risk to pedestrians, motorists & other road users.

·         It would help preserve the ancient woodland of Whitmore Wood and its diverse wildilfe. The importance of Whitmore Wood and others like it has been identified by the Woodland Trust in a recent article

·         There would be reduced impact on property values & saleability

·         Community isolation effects would be reduced

·         Visual and amenity impact would be significantly reduced during construction and operation, e.g.

o   A much lower Meece Brook viaduct resulting in less visual impact & lower noise pollution.

o   No need for the enormous viaduct along the Lea Valley to Madeley resulting in minimal visual impact on the landscape, minimal noise pollution and Manor Road remaining as it is.

·         Watercourse impacts would be avoided

·         Public footpaths and roads expected to close in the current propsal would remain open

·         Operational disruption to WCML would be avoided

·         Effects on cultural heritage assets would be reduced

·         The need to demolish properties would be reduced

This is a considerable number of positive impacts to the area which are all significant benefits from choosing option D9-11.3. These can’t easily be measured in monetary terms but on balance these far outweigh any additional cost impact associated with this option (which is negligible on a project of this scale). 

People and their lives are being adversely impacted by the current proposal, simply from the desire of saving just a few minutes of commuters’ time  – an alternative option would still impact but no where near as adversely and surely this should be a key driver in any decision making.

Issues can be avoided by choosing option D9-11.3 as the preferred option, whilst it would be a major engineering project in its own right, it would be no more so than raising the level of the A53, constructing bridges, diverting roads, creating new roads, building viaducts, noise barriers, etc.

Option D9-11.3 would mean our landscape remains intact for future generations. Staffordshire may have no immediate gain from HS2 but it will at least suffer less pain!

Question 4 - Volume 3: Route-wide effects

On review of the various documents, over 800 pages, it is abundantly clear that option D9-11.3 (as detailed in section 2.5 of Volume 2: Community Area (CA) reports and map books) should be the preferred proposal for the Whitmore Heath to Madeley section of the route.  I have provided more clarity around this in Question 3, Community Area 4.

However, based on the current proposal detailed in the documents my obvious concerns as a resident of Baldwins Gate / Madeley Park Wood are:

·         The document makes reference to the ancient woodland in the Whitmore Heath to Madeley section of the route and how it will be reduced to accommodate the route.  It is astounding that it is deemed reasonable to consider a 10.5Ha reduction.  Another of the consultation documents refers to this as being a “permanent adverse residual effect” which is “significant at national level”

·         There is little or no mention of the wildlife, deer, badgers, birdlife & a plethora of protected species, what happens to them to avoid the heavy disruption? There is mention of “managing the adverse impacts” but no information is provided on what form this takes.

·         There is also reference to 27 ancient veteran trees that will be removed.  It is disgraceful that this is even a consideration and even more disgraceful that it is justified in the report as it sic “only equates to 0.02% of the resource in England” – 0.02% is still too much and shouldn’t be a consideration.

·         Any woodland compensation measures referred to in the report will take decades and generations before it will return to any resemblance of how it currently is.  It’s a long term compensation scheme that is unlikely to be evidenced in our lifetime.

Question 5

On review of the various documents, over 800 pages, it is abundantly clear that option D9-11.3 (as detailed in section 2.5 of Volume 2: Community Area (CA) reports and map books) should be the preferred proposal for the Whitmore Heath to Madeley section of the route.  I have provided more clarity around this in Question 3, Community Area 4.

Question 6

On review of the various documents, over 800 pages, it is abundantly clear that option D9-11.3 (as detailed in section 2.5 of Volume 2: Community Area (CA) reports and map books) should be the preferred proposal for the Whitmore Heath to Madeley section of the route.  I have provided more clarity around this in Question 3, Community Area 4.