ANTI-HS2 supporters will continue their fight to stop the high speed link coming through Cheshire despite the go-ahead being given for Phase One of the scheme.

The first phase of the route, between London and Birmingham, was given Royal Assent on Thursday, and construction will begin in the spring.

Reacting to the news, Graham Dellow from Mid Cheshire Against HS2 said: “Mid Cheshire Against HS2 are obviously very disappointed that common sense has not prevailed and public opinion has not been listened to, and that as a result, it now looks likely construction of Phase One will now commence.

“Our resolve has been strengthened by this news, and the fight to stop Cheshire being destroyed by an unnecessary and obscene scar of concrete and steel will continue.”

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:  “Getting the go-ahead to start building HS2 is a massive boost to the UK’s future economic prosperity and a further clear signal Britain is open for business.

“HS2 will be the world’s most advanced passenger railway and the backbone of our rail network.

“Royal Assent is a major step towards significantly increasing capacity on our congested railways for passengers and freight; improving connections between the biggest cities and regions; generating jobs, skills and economic growth and helping build an economy that works for all.

“By investing in infrastructure the Government is seizing the opportunity provided by leaving the EU to build a more global Britain.

“We will now press ahead with constructing the railway while continuing to ensure affected communities get appropriate support and are treated with fairness, compassion and respect.”

David Higgins, chairman of HS2 said: “Achieving Royal Assent for Phase One between Birmingham and London with such significant Parliamentary support is a monumental step in transforming rail travel in Britain.

“We have a long journey ahead of us to build the railway and secure permission for Phase Two to make sure the full benefits of HS2 are realised.

“Throughout this process HS2 remains committed to mitigating the environmental impacts while continuing to engage with each community which is making sacrifices to enable a 21st century railway network to be built in Britain.”

The High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) hybrid Bill – essentially the planning application for HS2 – received overwhelming support from MPs.

In the Bill’s third reading in the Commons MPs voted 399 to 42 in favour, and 386 to 26 in support in the Lords.