Staffordshire campaigners claim HS2 is making people suicidal

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Campaigners against HS2 claim the planned railway is causing so much distress that people are suicidal.

Robert Gasch, who is involved with the Marston Against HS2 group, said plans for the high-speed railway that will run through Staffordshire without a stop, have left people devastated.

The 64-year-old and fellow opponents fear that residents living in the affected areas will lose their homes and farms will be cut in two by the line which could see high-speed trains hurtling from London to the North of England and beyond, if it goes ahead.

Mr Gasch travelled to London to take part in a protest against the plans.

He said Staffordshire people are so concerned about their homes and land being ripped apart that they are extremely depressed.

He said: “I don’t want HS2 to happen and I’m strong enough to fight it.

“But if you go up and down the line, people are suicidal over this and they’ve lived in this community for all their lives.

“The farmer across the road has lived here for 44 years and his farm is going to be cut in half.”

“I was talking to a man yesterday and he has lived in the area for 30 odd years and his young family live down the road, but he would have to move away if it went ahead.”

“HS2 would be right next to my house and it seems like such a waste of money –  it could be spent so much better on the country.”

The campaigner added that if the plans go ahead the railway line could destroy rural businesses and up to 70 trucks a day could be driving through Stone and Stoke-on-Trent, causing traffic chaos.

He said: “North Staffordshire loses millions by having no stop.

“Stafford and Stoke will lose the majority of their mainline services and the service to London will probably be a lot slower.

“It will affect the farms and the amount that can be grown in the area so we will have to import more products and food.

“The areas of Stone and Stafford will be severely affected by traffic.”

But the Department of Transport said that HS2 will provide a vital service and benefit the area.

A spokesman said: “Stafford is set to benefit from day one from increased capacity on existing lines as well as improved journey times to London.

“The proposed route of Phase Two through Staffordshire broadly follows the existing transport corridors of the West Coast Main Line and the M6.

“Once a route is confirmed, further work will be done to mitigate the route where possible.

“In addition there is a discretionary compensation scheme in operation for those people facing exceptional hardship and need to move house but cannot sell it at a fair price because of HS2.”

The Department of Transport has hosted events aimed at airing residents’ concerns Stoke, Whitmore, Handsacre and Madeley and a further one will take place in Stafford on December 12.

People are being urged to attend or contact HS2’s public enquiry line.

 

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