HS2 blight lifted from Ch­ester­field

Canal Boat - - This Month -

AF­TER FIVE years un­der the threat of ma­jor dam­age from the pro­posed HS2 railway, the blight on the Ch­ester­field Canal restora­tion scheme has fi­nally ended with the of­fi­cial an­nounce­ment of the adop­tion of a new railway route that largely avoids the canal. But else­where on the net­work, the news for wa­ter­ways af­fected by HS2 is more mixed.

As orig­i­nally planned, Phase 2 of the new line ( which will ex­tend the al­ready agreed Phase 1 Lon­don-Mid­lands length to reach York­shire and the North-West) would have fol­lowed the Ch­ester­field Canal closely for sev­eral miles from Stave­ley to Kil­la­marsh, oblit­er­at­ing large parts of a length of dis­used canal whose restora­tion is al­ready un­der­way.

But now, fol­low­ing a con­sul­ta­tion, changes to the way that the line will serve Sh­effield ( which have made the na­tional news in con­nec­tion with the de­mo­li­tion of part of a new hous­ing de­vel­op­ment) will keep the railway well away from the canal, ex­cept where a new cross­ing is needed near Nor­wood Tun­nel.

Fur­ther south, an­other pro­posed change to HS2’s route near Measham has been dropped. This re­moves what would have been a new ob­struc­tion to the cur­rent phase of restora­tion of the Ashby Canal’s dis­used north­ern reaches; how­ever it may com­pli­cate the is­sues to the north of Measham, where it im­pacts on a hous­ing scheme which (it had been hoped) would have helped open an­other length of canal.

On the nav­i­ga­ble net­work, there is less good news: de­spite rep­re­sen­ta­tions by the In­land Wa­ter­ways As­so­ci­a­tion and Canal & River Trust there will still be ma­jor im­pacts on the Trent & Mersey and Shrop­shire Union Mid­dlewich Branch from a new railway de­pot and viaducts in Cheshire, and HS2 will still bridge the Ere­wash twice in short suc­ces­sion.

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