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HS2 route will only benefit Birmingham, says Coventry business boss

HS2 route through Warwickshire

View HS2 High Speed Rail Route in a larger map

Doug Squires

INDUSTRY in Coventry and Warwickshire will be hit hard by the planned HS2 high speed rail line, according to the region’s Chamber of Commerce president Doug Squires.

He has warned other business leaders of dire consequences if the HS2 line, which is set to slice through the region, gets the go-ahead and criticised the plans as being too Birmingham focused.

Coventry City Council will decide next month whether it will officially oppose the £17billion London to Birmingham route.

The line will see 250mph “bullet trains” cut along the western edge of Coventry through several towns and villages, direct to a new station near the NEC. It will also be the subject of an inquiry in Parliament by the Transport Select Committee beginning on Tuesday.

Mr Squires said: “Coventry and Warwickshire is going to suffer badly from this.

"If it goes further north there may be some advantage for those cities, but I’m not convinced by the [predicted] passenger numbers they’ve put forward.

“We’re going to lose the three-an-hour service [from Coventry to London] we currently get on the existing rail network – that won’t be a benefit.

"We’re the 11th largest city in the country for goodness sake, what’s going on?

"The new line will not even stop at Coventry – it’s all Birmingham, Birmingham, Birmingham.”