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Baroness Valentine, the chief executive of London First, welcomed the plans.“A well-functioning rail network with new connections, greater capacity and faster journeys will not only support London’s economy but also provide benefits to the UK as a whole.“The Government has rushed through today’s route announcement before two major consultations on phase one have finished, showing contempt for rural land and business owners,” said Harry Cotterell, its president.There are fears that plans for a series of viaducts will despoil the countryside and campaigners were also critical of proposals to build HS2 stations outside Derby and Sheffield rather than in the city centres, which, they said, would increase journey times.Critics said the dog-leg, in which the line doubles back on itself at one point, would add at least six miles to the route between Birmingham and Manchester, with each mile adding £93 million to the cost.The second phase of the £32.7 billon project will link Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds via two high-speed lines that will carry 225mph trains.
“If the Government has decided the northern section should meander through the country, they had better have a rethink about the route of the southern section.” Steve Rodrick, the chief officer of the Chilterns Conservation Board was equally incensed by the detour.
The proposed route will avoid Tatton’s Golden Triangle of Tory-voting Prestbury, Wilmslow and Alderley Edge.
Martin Tett, leader of Tory-controlled Buckinghamshire county council, who is coordinating the campaign by local authorities opposed to the scheme, said: “The line seems to do a loop around the wealthiest parts of Tatton, which is interesting because we were told there was no way it could do anything other than go in a straight line, no matter what stood in its path.
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