HS2 blight lifted from Chesterfield
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.