Senior Labour MP Says "Put HS2 Rolling Stock Depot In Middleton Or Coleshill"
Liam Byrne MP pledges in House of Commons debate that a future Labour Government would re-open Washwood Heath decision and move HS2 Depot into Warwickshire greenbelt
Birmingham Labour MP Liam Byrne, a senior Labour member of the Shadow Cabinet and former Chief Secretary to the Treasury, has shocked local North Warwickshire residents by demanding that a 220 acre High Speed Rail maintenance depot should be moved onto Warwickshire greenbelt land.
Speaking in a debate in the House of Commons, the senior Labour MP urged the Government to move the maintenance depot from its current planned location, a disused brownfield industrial site at Washwood Heath in Birmingham. Instead he demanded that the depot, which will be larger that 200 football fields put together, should be put on greenbelt land at either the village of Middleton or the town of Coleshill.
He even pledged that should the Labour Party win the 2015 General Election, this is what they would do.
Mr Byrne (who after the 2010 General Election famously left a note on his desk to the incoming Conservative Treasury Minister saying "sorry, there's no money left") addressed the House of Commons on the 25th of January. He said:
"Much better sites are available. There are sites much closer to the Y junction at Birmingham international airport... It is true that they are on green-belt land, but they are also land-locked by the M42 and therefore dead; they have no future economic purpose. They are in the middle of a very busy motorway junction that is perfectly suitable and appropriate for designs of this type."
Mr Byrne was referring to the two other sites that were initially short listed - at Middleton and at Coleshill. He went on to say:
"I must tell the Minister that, if the legislation is not on the books by 2015 and Labour forms the next Government, we will look at the decision again."
Commenting on Mr Byrnes' words, the local MP covering Middleton and Coleshill Dan Byles, a fierce critic of HS2, said:
"I am furious that a senior Labour MP, who supports HS2 and is adamant that it is good for the country, can have the bare faced cheek to say that he doesn't want any of the bad bits in his constituency. Instead he is trying to dump it into greenbelt land in Warwickshire.
"Perhaps Mr Byrne isn't aware that North Warwickshire is already the worst impacted community by HS2 in the entire country outside of London, and the people of Middleton and Coleshill are particularly badly hit. For him to arrogantly wave his hand and say that our greenbelt is "dead land" and therefore "well suited" for this development is insulting and ignorant.
"Local people will take note of his ominous warning that, should Labour win the 2015 general election, they will move the depot out of his constituency and into our greenbelt.
"If he supports HS2 as he claims, then he should welcome the nasty bits as well. In North Warwickshire we don't support HS2, and we don't want Mr Byrne dumping his industrial garbage on what's left of our greenbelt."
Cllr Peter Fowler, who speaks for the people of Coleshill at both County Council and Borough Council and is also a fierce critic of HS2, said:
"The people of Coleshill are united in our opposition to High Speed Rail, which will destroy the village of Gilson and badly affect our town. It beggars belief that a senior Labour MP from Birmingham can describe Coleshill as "dead land" and demand that a huge railway maintenance depot be dumped on our greenbelt instead of on a brownfield industrial site in the city. He claims to support HS2, so why is he trying to move bits of it away from his constituency and into ours?".