Entire green belt to be churned up for HS2.

The Crackley Gap - Everything Must Go

The Crackley Gap – Everything Must Go

One of the narrowest green belts in the country, the 550 metre ‘Crackley Gap’ between Kenilworth and Coventry will be dug up in its entirety during the construction of HS2, campaigners have learned. Action group representatives were informed of the impact of construction of HS2 at a private meeting with HS2 Ltd last week, and the plans are due to be presented to the Kenilworth area Community Forum tonight.

While some of the land will not be required post-construction, during the construction period, the western side (University of Warwick/Crackley Woods side) of the A429 will be dug up, from the last house in Kenilworth to the first house in Coventry. The land which will be subject to disturbance is an estimated size equivalent to 50 football pitches, almost four times the amount of land which was presented as to be ‘safeguarded’ for construction purposes in the consultation which closed less than two weeks ago on January 31st.

In meetings which have been replicated along the entire of Stage 1 of the proposed rail line, representatives of The Kenilworth Stop HS2 Action Group, The Crackley Residents Association and Kenilworth Town Council have been having bilateral meetings with HS2 Ltd engineers for eight months. These bilaterals have been for local residents to point out to HS2 Ltd errors and constraints in their proposals, and propose possible mitigations to the plans.

The main thing which had been spotted by the residents of Kenilworth, but not the highly-paid engineers from HS2 Ltd, was the fact that the previous proposal for the Crackley Gap involved crossing Canley Brook (which for over two years HS2 Ltd had insisted was called Crackley Brook) at water level. HS2 Ltd have now accepted that the idea of a 225mph train going through a ford might sound spectacular, but was hardly a practical idea. Despite mitigation proposals from residents suggesting that the only sensible option was to tunnel, as the HS2 track could not be raised due to the constraint of having to go under a nearby railway, engineers have decided to move the brook instead, meaning earthworks will border onto the last property in the town, massively increasing the construction impact, and destroying a planned ‘Jubilee Wood’ extension to nearby Crackley Woods on land owned by the University of Warwick. On the Coventry side, engineers believed the construction imprint shown on maps all the way to the first house in the city was necessary to move a high-pressure pipeline, but weren’t certain this was the reason. Besides HS2 itself, an electricity transformer and pumping station will also be placed in the Crackley gap at its narrowest point.

On Dalehouse Lane, another road out of Kenilworth, HS2 Ltd have adjusted their plans to raise a bridge crossing the River Finham by two and a half metres after residents pointed out that their projections for the maximum 1000-year flood level was lower than actual flood levels experienced in 1998, and not far off where they were just this weekend. The road will also be closed for up to a year.

Nearby villages of Burton Green and Stoneleigh will have spoil heaps to contend with, with the later also getting a workers compound in a field near the A46, currently used for agricultural shows.

Nick Hillard, Secretary of the Crackley Residents Association said;

“The whole area, one of the thinnest green belts in the country is going to have to be dug up. After five to eight years of construction we will be left with a sterile eyesore and it will take up to 30 years for the little which is left to get back to be in keeping with the landscape. We have expressed our concerns about Canley Brook for two years, but after eight months of dialogue, none of our suggestions have been included. This highlights the potentially catastrophic unforseen consequences of HS2, which have formed no part of any public consultation to date. This situation will undoubtedly be replicated up and down the line as more detailed information becomes available to the HS2 engineers”

Joe Rukin, Stop HS2 Campaign Manager said,

“We didn’t expect much going into the process and we’ve ended up with less than that. We have done HS2 Ltds work for them, pointing out the massive errors in the plans and suggesting mitigation. They have accepted the errors and ignored the mitigation. What they have done is make the whole thing a lot worse, because that is the cheapest option.”

“This is a precautionary tale to anyone now just finding out about HS2 after the release of the Y-Route. Three years ago, HS2 Ltd presented us with maps which showed this tiny little railway line, designed by someone sat at a desk in London who had never seen the area. Then you find that it is 21 metres fence to fence, about as wide as six lanes of road. Then you find there is proposed clearance of 25 metres each side – more on embankments and cuttings – and you are looking at something wider than the pitch at Wembley. Then you are told the construction zone will be 100 metres. Finally, three years down the line, you get told the truth in that they plan to dig up your entire green belt, your entire wildlife corridor, and it’s over a third of a mile wide.”

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13 comments to “Entire green belt to be churned up for HS2.”
  1. I read in today’s press that birds and small animals will be in the way of casey Cameron new train set in the north well take it from the people down south they will not listen or take any notice they will just carry on destroying the country’s green parts and anything in its path for what jobs for the thousands on the way from the eastern block we need to look after our closing nhs police departments first 32 bill to 100bil would go along way to put our services right and when we can afford vanerty projects like hs 2 we can do the job right and protect our country’s Eco systems and do right for our people losing there homes so this must be stopped now

  2. Thankyou I was not aware but i would not like to be associated (as in our own) with someone who shouts how wonderful HS2 is regularly in all the newspapers..I wrote as i did as i was sure that he would be reading the web site.

  3. Pingback: STOP HS2 | National CPRE still ignoring its own HS2 policy, despite concerns of local branches.

  4. “Entire green belt to be churned up for HS2”

    Sorry but this title should be more precise as it gives ammunition to HS2’s attack rats.

    However, this is just one small section of the new line(s) and the vast majority of the public will be totally unaware of the destruction, accepting the DfT/HS2 assurances that ‘we will do everything possible to mitigate’ against any ‘disturbance’ which ‘might occur’ in the process, which is of course ‘only for the nation’s good’ anyway.
    The example shows that it is only by “digging” at this local level that it can and must be shown exactly how destructive governmental bulldozers can be, and all because of a Lord’s whim.
    It is highly commendable that STOPHS2 allows HS2’s one-man spoiler brigade to throw in his mocking tones. HS2 should not rely totally on a fanatic as PADAV, who seems to have all the ‘copy-and-paste’ FACTS at his keyboard, as fanatics occasionally find themselves on a road to Damascus.
    Thanks to those below for shining a little light on him.

    • What is the most direct route connecting Kenilworth, Crackley, Burton Green and Berkeswell?
      The Greenway, flanked by trees , partly in cutting and partly elevated on embankment and offering views over the countryside.
      But of course it was originally built as a railway- still shown as twin track on my 1962 Ordnance map, an avoiding line so that the severe bottleneck -which it was and still is , of Coventry station could be bypassed.

      With the run down of rail services from the mid 20th century the link between Coventry and Leamington was closed to passengers and Kenilworth station shut and later demolished, the “Greenway line” discarded.

      Then, with the opening of the N.E.C. and the B’ham airport development, inter city trains from the south were diverted on to this now very restricted and largely single track line.
      Increasing numbers of containers from Southampton also compete for track paths and any delays can often contribute to late running by Cross Country Trains.

      Lack of track capacity is one of the main justifications for building HS2.
      It highlights the U.K’s lack of long term planning and frequent changes of policy, which are difficult to reverse.

      Kenilworth and district can rightly be proud of their Greenway and value it- but are now rightly worried by the implications of HS2.and they would hate to lose it.
      As we travelled past Kenilworth, still without its own station, the train conductor commented of the Greenway line, “It should never have been closed,” ,

      • P.S. I meant to ask.

        Does anybody know if, in the archives in Kenilworth or Warwick there are any records of what local people thought when the ‘Greenway’ railway was built, a century or more ago, with its embankment straddling the fields and its cutting carving its way through the middle of Crackley woods?

  5. To whom I thoroughly recommend,if he hasn’t read them already, Michael Williams’ splendid books:”On the Slow Train” 1&2,available in paperback ,or at his local library…

  6. There was a time when a Englishmans house was his castle but our govenment over night has changed all that with hs2 they have decided that they can just come along claim land and people’s homes on the cheap to make way a vanity project no one wants spend 32b rip up graves countryside wild life and anything else in its path to achieve their goal. It iis time to put a stop to this now so let’s all work together and fight this monstrosity now

    • “There was a time when an Englishman’s home was his castle…”- unless of course it was in the way of an airfield, a bypass, a motorway or a slum clearance or an urban renewal scheme.

      In past centuries landlords evicted tenants, whole villages were relocated “to improve the outlook” and the “surplus population” urged, encouraged and coerced into emigrating.

      New and widened city streets, the Victorian railways and town “improvement” swept away whole neighbourhoods. Welcome Kingsway, Victoria Street and Marylebone station. Farewell Severn Dials and much of Coventry.
      And where the sanitary officials and the Luftwaffe left off, enthusiastic planners and commercial developers continued; “the rape of Worcester”, Westway and much of East London and central Birmingham.

      I’m afraid that your vision of a secure, sturdy green and pleasant yesteryear never really existed – at least not unless you were very very rich. .

    • Dream on; was this the time before trunk roads and motorways and airports? In any case an English working man’s cottage/tenement/hovel has always been disposable. Capability Brown apparently moved entire villages to improve the views in the 18th century and a lot of dead people were relocated when St. Pancras was built!

  7. So all you for HS2 telling us it is just a narrow strip of land perhaps you will now see what we were saying .IT is NOT just a small stip of land.
    Especially someone calling themselves PADAV who seems to write everywhere and seems to be running the pro HS2 all on his own, as few others write for it.As stated by stop HS2 it has been clear to us all how badly this scheme has been run and so many more people will be affected for years not just those along the planned line.Heaven help us all if it goes ahead.

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