Question: Where, in Hansard, the official record of proceedings in the House of Commons, will you find references to the Parish of Whitmore, to Whitmore Heath and to the village of Baldwins Gate?
Answer: In Volume 617, at columns 1135 to 1140.
On 24 November 2016 Sir William Cash addressed the House of Commons in the adjournment debate at the close of the day’s proceedings. He chose to speak about the impact of HS2 Phase 2A in his constituency and devoted part of his address to the anticipated impacts in Whitmore parish.
You can read the official transcript of the proceedings here. (The first part of the speech covers the impacts in Stone and Yarnfield. For Whitmore parish go to column 1135.)
No one would dispute that our Neighbourhood Area has a fine heritage.
Our beautiful landscape in the rural south-west of Newcastle-under-Lyme can be considered the jewel in the crown of the borough.
The Neighbourhood Area has 14 Sites of Biological Importance, two Biodiversity Alert Sites, one area of Special Scientific Interest and one Regionally Important Geological Site. Maer Hills is the largest Biodiversity Alert Site in Staffordshire.
Our historical and built heritage includes one Grade I listed building, seven Grade II* listed buildings and 55 Grade II listed buildings and structures, three Scheduled Ancient Monuments and one Registered Park and Garden, plus three conservation areas.
All combined, we have a rich natural, environmental and built heritage. And let us not forget our cultural and scientific heritage too, with such famous former residents as the Wedgwoods, or our frequent visitor Charles Darwin, who made his first observations of the action of earthworms on the soil at Maer Moss; or our social and economic heritage, deriving from the coming of the Grand Junction Railway in the 1830s.
Our landscape and built heritage is the subject of a report prepared in the summer of 2016 and for which we received technical assistance from consultants, under the terms of our government grant. The illustrated report, called Heritage and Character Assessment, describes our Neighbourhood Area’s historical development, geology, landscape and land use, its individual settlements, its views, and more. It also makes recommendations for managing change in the Neighbourhood Area so as to maintain its character and local distinctiveness.
You can read the Heritage and Character Assessment here.
HS2 hangs like a heavy, black cloud over our area. We face the prospect of 7 years of devastation and misery during construction, and the permanent destruction of parts of our beautiful landscape and precious wildlife habitats – and all for the sake of what? We would all like it to just go away, but until we hear anything to the contrary we must assume that it will go ahead. The Bill for HS2 Phase 2A will be presented in Parliament some time in 2017.
Some 320 people attended the HS2 consultation event at Whitmore Village Hall on 30 September. Two weeks later the local HS2 Action Group gave a series of sessions at an information event arranged by Whitmore Parish Council. Mr Bill Murray addressed the sessions most expertly, explaining exactly what was proposed along the Whitmore section of the route. Bill’s presentation of the facts laid bare the enormity of the impact that HS2 will have in this area. Questions were asked and discussed; when answers could be provided, answers were given. All were urged to respond to the consultation.
The Steering Group for the Neighbourhood Development Plan submitted a response and you can read it here.