The controversial high speed line is set to include a railhead earmarked for land near Yarnfield – and concerns were raised by community leaders in Stone that up to 42 HGVs a day could use Pirehill Lane as a haul road to carry loads to a compound in Yarlet.
Stone councillor Jill Hood called on Staffordshire County Council to intervene on the proposed construction traffic route. Speaking in March she said: “In the immediate area there are two first schools, a middle school and three nurseries where families are told road safety is a priority and are encouraged to walk their children to school helping reduce their carbon footprint.
“It is a heavily populated residential area leading to the Eccleshall Road which is heavily congested, added traffic will be a hazard to the surrounding area and its users. Air quality will soon deteriorate with queueing traffic and will threaten the environment and health of residents.”
HS2 is reconsidering its construction traffic route in the area, it has been revealed. An HS2 spokesperson said: “We are working closely with Staffordshire County Council to assess the most suitable route for HS2 vehicles to travel to and from the Yarlet construction compound.
“Pirehill Lane in Stone hasn’t been removed from our construction plans, but we are committed to exploring alternative access options. HS2’s Schedule 17 application has been amended, removing the request to use Pirehill Lane, while this work is carried out.”
David Williams, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “From the outset we have championed the cause of Staffordshire residents to minimise the impact of HS2 on our communities and on our countryside.
“We have made it clear to HS2 Ltd that Pirehill Lane is currently not suitable for heavy lorry traffic and have asked for it to be removed from the planned scheduled work programme until suitable remediation is undertaken or an alternative identified.
“Following the announced delays to the completion of the HS2 project, HS2 Ltd is due to share its refreshed plans next month.”
Work to construct the rail line between Birmingham and Crewe has been delayed by two years, it was announced earlier this year. In April HS2 Ltd told Yarnfield and Cold Meece Parish Council that it was pausing most of Kier’s work under the ECW2 contract, which involves 20 road schemes along the route of Phase 2a including the realignment of Yarnfield Lane major works at the junction between the A34 and the Wayfarer and at the A34/A51 roundabout at Stone Business Park.
Sally Parkin, Chair of Yarnfield and Cold Meece Parish Council, said, “I am very pleased by this news as it is a clear indication that the Government is taking time to review the need for HS2 Phase 2. There are many engineering problems and safety concerns with HS2’s current proposals for realigning Yarnfield Lane and, at the very least, the company should use this pause to consider implementing safer options for Yarnfield Lane and the proposed Stone Railhead/IMB-R, giving proper consideration to the needs of local residents and businesses”.