title="High Legh Parish Council in Cheshire">

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News  »  HS2 2b Design Refinement Consultation Response

   HS2 2b Design Refinement Consultation Response    September 3, 2019


High Speed Two Phase 2b:  Crewe to Manchester and West Midlands to Leeds.

Design Refinement Consultation


Response - Question 11 Passive provision for Manchester to Liverpool and Liverpool to London junctions at High Legh


Executive Summary


  1. High Legh Parish Council reiterates its opposition to the HS2 scheme as a whole on the principle of no economic value compared to the senseless destruction of valuable green belt, agricultural and recreational land plus immense disruption to significant numbers of people and their homes.
  2. High Legh Parish Council, on behalf of its parishioners, expressly do not support the proposed passive provision for the Manchester to Liverpool and Liverpool to London junctions at High Legh for the reasons expressed below.
  3. Once again, our consultation response has to be provided on the basis of inadequate data and information to properly evaluate the true impact on High Legh Parish, this time as a result of the passive provision of two junctions at High Legh.
  4. It is apparent that the HS2 design team were given a budget and told to future proof HS2 to be able to accommodate Transport for the North’s (TfN) aspirations for Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR). This was obviously a desk-based exercise without true regard to the detail requirements of either HS2 or NPR. The design is therefore flawed and totally unfit for purpose, only for the good/benefit of HS2 and against the national interest of developing a sensible, cost effective, environmentally responsible rail system from east to west across the north, for the future. This consultation process should be halted until TfN/NPR has completed its plans and these have been integrated with HS2 plans.
  5. Whilst HLPC support the movement of the Auto Transformer Feeder Station from the Hoo Green area, we do not agree the proposed relocation position at Millington Clough Culvert is the right location. This should be positioned closer to the M6 crossover.



Passive provision for 2 Junctions at High Legh


Transport for the North (TfN)’s high level route options for NPR have been published, providing a variety of possible routes. However, the HS2 proposals, particularly the proposed Liverpool Spur do not link up with any of Transport for the North’s NPR route options and create bias, forcing TfN into a much more costly, sub-optimal and much less environmentally friendly route between Liverpool, Manchester Airport and Manchester. 


The passive provision for the two junctions at High Legh suggested by HS2 in these proposals will lead to a route that is not one of the number of optional routes that TfN/NPR have considered and it seems certain that the route HS2 are proposing would make this stretch of an NPR line prohibitively costly, difficult to plan, engineer and get permission for, and to build.  The environmental disruption and degradation caused both in building and operating such an NPR route would be against all national and local environmental plans. TfN’s objective of connecting Liverpool, Manchester and Manchester Airport can be met without use of the HS2 network, and any merger of the two should set out clearly the benefits of doing so. It is clear the proposals in the consultation have been made without full business cases for NPR being considered.


It is said that “The designs for these junctions do not pre-determine future choices the Government will make about the NPR network, for instance on how it could connect Manchester, Liverpool and Warrington”. Clearly the passive provision for the 2 High Legh Junctions has created an expectation and restriction on how this will be done.

The HS2 route proposals are said to be ‘optimal from a technical perspective[1]’ however these technical specifications have not been shared or published. In fact, the proposals specifically disregard the published objectives of TfN, which are to fully utilise and integrate with existing rail infrastructure or HS2 routes as much as possible. The published high level NPR route options attempt to follow this integration principle whereas the HS2 proposals in this consultation directly make this impossible.


The HS2 proposals instead foresee the Liverpool route taking up much of the high quality Green Belt land in northwest Cheshire East and devastating populated areas towards Warrington and Liverpool. The only reasoning given for this route and therefore the location of the 2 High Legh junctions is that they are ‘the optimal sites from a technical perspective’. However it seems plain that the Liverpool-Manchester Airport-Manchester connection could be achieved in a far more cost effective, efficient and environmentally sensitive way by utilising one of the existing eastbound Liverpool lines to where it crosses the “to be built” HS2 Main North line then utilising this to join the HS2 Manchester line into Manchester Airport and Manchester, thereby rendering the High Legh junctions extraneous. 


We suggest that much more work must be done by both HS2 & TfN/NPR to transparently identify the best route to meet the requirements of both because from what we have seen of the usage forecasts of HS2 and TfN they raise significant questions over the feasibility of using the proposed line in the consultation by both services.

There appears to have been a total lack of strategic, joined-up thinking from these proposals. It is strongly suggested that this consultation be disregarded, the passive provision for the two junctions be cancelled and HS2 do no more work on the Crewe-Manchester stretch other than to support and work with TfN/NPR to plan and gain agreement for their most sensible, cost effective and environmentally friendly route between Liverpool and Manchester to deliver a well-planned rail system that delivers on cost, service and environmental friendliness.


Human Impact

The unqualified and unsubstantiated inclusion of these two junctions together with the Manchester to Liverpool Overbridge Provision has created a great deal of uncertainty in the prospective impact on property along what will be conceived as the likely route. This has resulted in many properties now being blighted in advance of any TfN consultation or funding for compensation. It is totally unacceptable to publish a part solution and HS2 should look favourably on compensation claims of blight as a result of the publication of these passive junctions. 



It has become evident that water collection & disposal is an important matter to be considered during the design period to alleviate flooding along the route effected by the design refinements during its construction & operation. Provision for the future demands on surface or other water drainage systems needs to be fully considered and whilst the Millington Clough Aqueduct is a welcome addition, we do not feel this is an adequate solution to what will become a significant issue. HS2 need to urgently identify how changes to the water table will affect the stability of nearby properties and to state how such impacts will be reflected in the Land Quality Volume.



Traffic predictions during construction

We have been advised that during construction there could be as many as 1200 traffic movements in any one day in the High Legh, Mere, Millington and Pickmere areas, impacting the A50, A556 and old Chester Road. The impact on the local population will be prohibitive, making normal travel impossible and the increase in air pollution noise and vibration impacts will be huge.

A potential solution would be to fully utilise the track and move the soil along the line right to the M6 rather than using the local roads.

Concerns are that traffic would come off the A556 and access by Cherry Tree Lane, going down Chester Road to get access to the A556.  It would be much better to introduce a new junction to the A556 as submitted in our earlier consultation response. This would ease the construction impact on local traffic immensely.

A significant concern is the use of substandard rural roads for construction traffic, particular attention will need to be given to the Chapel Lane A556 bridge, which is not wide enough for two large vehicles to pass. This will create a traffic bottle neck and be dangerous on what is a busy national cycle way. All traffic should enter and exit this site from/toward the A556.  Heavy traffic must be prohibited on the highly unsuitable lanes (Chapel Lane & Peacock Lane).

Our preference is for a "Jack Box" under the A556, rather than a temporary realignment whilst a bridge is built to take the A556 over the HS2 line, a temporary realignment would have a huge impact on local traffic movements.


Climate change

The provision of these two junctions will have a significant detrimental impact to the local environment, but the HS2 concept itself is difficult to justify against the increasing pressures worldwide to manage our effect on the environment.  The government seeks to address these by commitments to reduce consumption nationally, and in particular to reduce energy consumption.  HS2 is in direct conflict with this objective.  Trains are to have the capability to run at twice the speed of current trains, which on a simple scale would require roughly four times the power (or four times the energy) of trains running at conventional speeds. 


Consultation refinements

We are unable to provide a proper consultation response on the proposed construction works that will be needed as part of HS2’s Passive Provisions. These particularly refer to the Hoo Green Box Structure, but also the Transformer Feeder Station and Grid Supply Point and the changes to the cuttings/tunnel between the A50 and M56.

HS2 have signally failed in their statutory duties to provide sufficient and clear information on these proposals.  The information presented at their Public Information Event lacked sufficient detail and was inconsistent.  HS2 were asked to bring a suitable level of detail (outlined in a series of questions by us) to a meeting with the relevant Parish Councils during the consultation period. However, after considerable delays in setting up that meeting, none of the promised further detail was presented.  So far  this required detail has not been produced.  It is thus too late for a reasoned response to be considered and prepared within the consultation period, further evidence that the Consultation should be declared invalid. 

N.B. very late in the consultation period minutes of the meeting were sent but they did not provide any of the answers requested.

We have significant concerns over the lack of assessment of the impact of the additional NPR trains running on HS2 line regarding frequency, noise (especially from the above ground levels of the box structure) etc, particularly since it was admitted by HS2 that this work has yet to be done.  However, that being said it is clear that the visual and audio impact of these plans is significant and highly detrimental to the local area and the environmental impacts catastrophic.

Specifically we need to know :

- the heights and widths of any embankments and where they are to be

- the depths and widths of any cuttings or tunnels and where they are to be

- the number of tracks that will run in or on the cuttings or embankments

- the exact places where tracks will run at different levels (i.e. Manchester lines, North main lines, Liverpool spur lines)

- details of the size of the Hoo Green concrete box and the levels (ie heights above or below ground level) of each of the three/six tracks through this structure

- estimates of the noise effects of HS2 trains running through an enclosed box structure

- details of which lines will run at which level through this structure and an understanding of how many trains will use each of these

- details of heights of any bridges crossing the HS2 lines including the proposed bridge to carry the Liverpool line to/from the Ashley spur

  • the reason why the proposed spur to/from Liverpool does not provide a link to any of TfN's candidate routes.


Therefore, in the opinion of High Legh Parish Council we feel this consultation is invalid and should be halted and only reissued once all the detail is available and work to properly integrate HS2 and NPR plans is completed.





High Legh Parish Council, on behalf of its parishioners, expressly do not support the proposed passive provision for the Manchester to Liverpool and Liverpool to London junctions at High Legh for the reasons expressed above.


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