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Reopening of Southam to Leamington road could be delayed by HS2 work

WORK on the HS2 project could delay the reopening of a major Warwickshire road by almost a year.

Councillors in both the Stratford and Warwick districts are demanding answers from HS2 Ltd after it revealed potential revisions to its construction work programme, which would impact the A425 between Leamington and Southam.

The road was originally shut in September 2020 and was due to re-open in June this year but HS2 Ltd and its contractors have informed local authorities that the A425 Southam Road closure could be delayed by almost a year.

Stratford District Council and Warwickshire County Council have asked HS2 to clarify the position.

A spokesperson for both councils said: “We are deeply concerned to learn that the HS2 construction programme in the Southam area will be delayed and that the A425 Southam Road is to remain closed beyond the original date of June this year.

“Both councils have requested HS2 Ltd to clarify how this delay could be mitigated for our local communities in this area.

“We are currently working closely with each other, Warwick District Council and the emergency services to consider what alternatives HS2 Ltd should now provide to lessen the impact of this delay.

“A meeting has been scheduled for the end of March to hear the HS2 recommendations.”

When the HS2 Acts were passed the plan for the A425 was to temporarily realign the road but this idea was scrapped last year.

The road is in the ward of Cllr Louis Adam (Long Itchington and Stockton), who said: “Whatever the reason for the delay, HS2 should be open about what is going.”

Cllr Andy Crump (Southam South) said: “We have to get this road opened as soon as possible – the effect on residents businesses is quite unacceptable.”

Councillor Jacqui Harris (Harbury) added: “This issue is affecting my whole ward, especially local businesses from Harbury to JLR/AM in Upper Lighthorne.

“It is harmful to local residents, especially road users who are fed up with it.

“The roads are left in an appalling state and dangerous to road users, especially cyclists. Everyone has had enough of the evasion, lack of answers and we need honest answers and straight talking.”

Cllr Chris Kettle (Bishops Itchington) said: “It is concerning that despite having repeated briefings from HS2 updating us on progress on environmental and other issues that this major issue has not been shared with local elected representatives who have been kept in the dark. The huge effect of closures caused by HS2 cannot carry on.”

Cllr Nigel Rock, who was at the Ladbroke Parish Council meeting where the information came into the public domain, said: “Keeping this sort of information unnecessarily secret nearly always ends badly – HS2 need to come clean and tell us what is going on.”

HS2 Ltd has been contacted for comment.

HS2 is responsible for keeping the community up to date with the situation. Residents and businesses can contact the help desk directly on freephone 08081 434 434 or email to HS2enquiries@hs2.org.uk.

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