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HS2 'has turned our rural village into a hellish building site'

Villagers in Water Orton, north Warwickshire, say HS2 works are making their lives a 'misery' and have turned their picturesque village into a building site.

HS2 work on the viaduct in Water Orton, North Warwickshire. (SWNS)
HS2 work on the viaduct in Water Orton, North Warwickshire. (SWNS)

Villagers have spoken out about their misery after HS2 turned their surroundings into a "hellish building site".

People living in Water Orton, in North Warwickshire - eight miles west of the planned HS2 terminal in Birmingham - said their home had been transformed from a "lovely country village" into a building site, leaving some wanting to leave.

While the government has scrapped the northern leg of the high-speed rail link between Birmingham to Manchester, the first phase is still underway, including two 700m (2,297ft) viaducts to carry trains over the M42 by Water Orton.

Retired Colin Brookes, 69, who has lived in the village for 35 years, said: “I used to be able to walk the dogs around the village and across the fields but not anymore. You can’t walk anywhere now because HS2 contractors have dug all the fields up.

"They even had the cheek to put a sign up which said ‘Environmentally Sensitive Area’ when they’ve gone and cut all the bleeding trees down and ripped out all the hedges. The local school which was a lovely old Victorian building was knocked down because they didn’t think the children would be able to concentrate with lorries going past every two minutes.

Two huge viaducts are being built in Water Orton to carry trains over the M42 by Water Orton, in North Warwickshire. (SWNS)
Two huge viaducts are being built in Water Orton to carry trains over the M42 by Water Orton, in North Warwickshire. (SWNS)

"It’s demoralising. This used to be lovely country village where you'd get peace and quiet away from the city but now it’s like driving into a big building site. People want to leave because of the hassle."

Charity worker Angie Brown, 45, branded the whole HS2 project a "waste of money", saying: "When I found out HS2 was building in the village I was disappointed but wasn’t that worried because we were promised so many things. They said they’d build a new rugby club which they have and someone said the roads would be repaired and they’d be upgrades but it’s all come to nothing.

More West Mids stories - click above
More West Mids stories - click above

"The village is now surrounded by a hellish building site. HS2 has literally bulldozed Water Orton into the ground. It’s heartbreaking. The impact of the building work has caused flooding and when they work at night the lights are so bright it’s like living next to Blackpool Illuminations.

“HS2 has ruined the roads and the countryside around here. Lots of people just want to move away but who wants to buy a house here? We’re trapped."

Damaging and wasteful

Parents living in the village, which dates back to the 13th century, say they fear for the safety of their children due to amount of traffic the HS2 work has brought with it.

One dad, who didn't want to be named, said: "The streets in the village are narrow and winding and they’ve always been that way which was fine for the amount of cars using them. Suddenly dozens and dozens of lorries are coming up and down the roads all day every day. It’s only a matter of time before someone is run over.

"The fact is the village is not equipped to cope with the lorries. I don’t know anyone who has anything good to say about HS2. In years to come historians will look back on the decision to build HS2 and conclude it was probably one of the most damaging and wasteful policies ever made."

Villagers say their lives have been made a misery by the works. (SWNS)
Villagers say their lives have been made a misery by the works. (SWNS)

Where does HS2 start and end?

HS2 was initially meant to create high-speed rail links between London and cities in the Midlands and the north.

But various legs have gradually been cancelled due to spiralling costs, including a route between the East Midlands and Leeds as well as the link between Birmingham and Manchester. It will also now run to Old Oak Common in west London rather than into Euston.

This means that HS2 will start at Old Oak Common and run to Birmingham, with stations at Birmingham interchange and Birmigham Curzon Street.

HS2 network. (PA)
HS2 network. (PA)

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