A consultation on part of the HS2 Phase Two route has begun, the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced.
The nine week safeguarding consultation covers the section from Fradley in Staffordshire to Crewe in Cheshire. The DfT said it will “pave the way for the protection of this corridor of land and ensure new development in the area does not affect the ability to build and operate HS2 in the future”.
Last month, the route of HS2 Phase Two was changed near Lichfield, Staffordshire.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “The evidence so far indicates that routing HS2 to Manchester via Crewe would be the right strategic option. This is still to be confirmed, but undertaking this consultation will allow us to deliver our plans more quickly once a decision is made.
“Should a decision be taken to safeguard land following this consultation, safeguarding directions are expected to be published in spring 2015. People who own or occupy land affected will then have the right to ask the government to buy their property.”
In March, Sir David Higgins’ HS2 Plus report identified that high speed rail could reach the north sooner if Phase Two of the railway was accelerated and the line extended to a new regional transport hub at Crewe by 2027, six years earlier than planned.
McLoughlin said HS2 Ltd is continuing its analysis of options and this will inform the final decision on the whole of the Phase Two route, which will be made in 2015.