The National Trust welcomes the level of detail accompanying the HS2 Phase 2A Birmingham to Crewe report but has concerns where the railway passes close to Shugborough Hall and Downs Banks in Staffordshire.
We are working with experts to understand the impact of HS2 at Shugborough and Downs Banks. We understand that an elevated section of Phase 2A route passes 1km north of Shugborough and will be visible from key locations in this special place, including the popular parkland south of Shugborough Hall and the Grade I-listed Triumphal Arch.
The Phase 2A report confirms changes to the planned viaduct over the Trent and Mersey Canal which could further affect the views from Shugborough and the crossing of the M6 will be raised which is likely to increase distant views of the railway from parts of Downs Banks. This will require further investigation and modelling along with other anticipated effects such as noise.
Ben Middlemiss, HS2 Senior Project and Stakeholder Manager at the National Trust, said: “Without adequate protection, special places affected by HS2, including those in our care for the nation to enjoy, would suffer detrimental impacts and have their special qualities unacceptably compromised.
“Phase 2A is likely to damage views from within Shugborough’s parkland and at Downs Banks and therefore we seek engagement from HS2 Ltd to deliver the best mitigation of these impacts as well as the impact of construction on roads around Shugborough and into the adjacent Cannock Chase AONB.
“There are still big decisions to be made on the rest of the Phase 2 with the route to be announced in autumn 2016 and so it is imperative that HS2 Ltd now engages with affected stakeholders in a meaningful way.
“HS2 should be built to the highest environmental and design standards and we believe the best results for the nation can be achieved by collaborative working. We remain committed to open and honest engagement with HS2 Ltd, national and local communities.”
As a conservation organisation the National Trust doesn’t support or object to the principle of high speed rail in general or HS2 in particular.
The National Trust continues to invest significant time, effort and expertise in responding to the planning of HS2. In preparation for, and as, the HS2 Hybrid Bills pass through Parliament we are working as closely as we can with, neighbouring communities and other interested parties to influence HS2 Ltd’s plans for the better.