HS2 acts on feedback to improve Manchester route design

Plans to bring high speed rail to Manchester are already well underway. To inform next steps in the Parliamentary process, HS2 is engaging local communities to discuss proposed changes to its construction designs to reduce future flood impacts in West Didsbury.

HS2 has worked closely with the Environment Agency to understand the widespread flooding impacts in West Didsbury, with a specific focus on the aftermath of Storm Christoph, Storm Eunice and Storm Franklin.

Following a detailed assessment of HS2’s proposed construction works, and the revised flood modelling works undertaken, HS2 is proposing to relocate the Palatine Road vent shaft required for the Manchester tunnel.

Moving the vent shaft to a new location, outside of the Didsbury Flood Storage Basin, reduces flooding impacts on neighbouring properties and removes impacts to Withington Golf Club. A new location, within the site of the Hollies Convent School, which has been closed for nearly 30 years, is now proposed.

Stephen Smith, Head of Consultation and Engagement for HS2’s Phase 2b programme said:

“We are committed to ensuring that our plans for Britain’s new high speed railway minimise disruption for local communities during both the construction and operational phases.

“It’s vital that we act on new information, and we believe this is a positive step to reduce our construction work’s impact on flood risk in the surrounding area. We have already written to residents advising them of the proposals and would encourage them to attend our local community event if they have any questions.”

The change reflects the ongoing design and engagement work that HS2 Ltd undertakes during the hybrid Bill process. The High Speed Rail (Crewe – Manchester) Bill was submitted to parliament in January last year. It seeks the legislative powers to build and operate the northern extension of Britain’s new high speed railway, which will be zero carbon in operation. The Crewe – Manchester extension is forecast to open between 2035 and 2041.

The proposal will be formally submitted to Parliament later this year and is subject to its approval. Any concerns raised by those directly affected will be considered by Parliament ahead of the approval process.

Communities are invited to attend face to face and online webinar events where they can ask questions, and find out more, about changes proposed to the Bill between Davenport Green and Ardwick. These are scheduled to take place on:

  • Community event: Monday, 20 February 2023, 14.00 – 20.00. 6 Barlow Road Didsbury M20 6TR. Register your attendance in advance at hs2.org.uk/events
  • Webinar: Thursday, 28 February 2023, 18.00 – 19.00. Register your attendance in advance at hs2.org.uk/events

HS2 has a 24/7 Helpdesk and encourages people to get in touch if they have any questions about Britain’s new high speed railway and its construction. Call freephone 08081 434 434 or email hs2enquiries@hs2.org.uk.