Chesterfield Canal Trust says it 'welcomes' news that discussions have been taking place between HS2 Ltd. and local authorities over the route of the new line between London and Leeds, but has warned the proposals 'serve to blight' further regeneration of the waterway.
It comes after concerns were raised over the impact the line would have on the 300-year-old canal and amid claims the route was drawn up using out of date maps.
HS2 Ltd. said the route is 'the Government's initial preferred route' and it is now able to 'address concerns about specific sites'.
Members of the Trust have now requested discussions with HS2 officials before a full public consultation is launched later this year.
The Chesterfield Canal Trust very much welcomes HS2 discussions with Chesterfield Borough Council. The issues raised by the proposals for HS2, however, go well beyond the boundaries of Chesterfield Borough.
We regret that the proposals serve to blight, at one fell swoop, half a billion pounds of regeneration work associated with the Chesterfield Canal regeneration area; they devalue hundreds of thousands of hours of volunteer work put in over a thirty year period, and potentially trash years of partnership restoration planning and delivery.
Officials planning the route the high speed rail line between London and Leeds have said they are 'now able to address concerns about specific sites' amid fears the route jeopardise further restoration of the Chesterfield Canal.
"The route north of Birmingham that was recently published is the Government’s initial preferred route and we are now able to address concerns about specific sites such as the Chesterfield canal in more detail with local authorities.
We have recently met with Chesterfield council and discussions will continue.
A full public consultation will also open later this year and information gathered through the consultation will help inform the decision on the final route, which will include how the line can cross existing infrastructure such as canals."
Campaigners against HS2 have expressed concerns about the route which would cut through a new marina on the canal, threatening years of restoration work.
Robin Stonebridge from the Chesterfield Canal Trust, said: "What we're trying to do is bring this to the attention of HS2 and the Department for Transport and we're very confident that we'll be able to have proper dialogue with them on it."
Maps used to calculate the route for the High Speed Rail link could be out of date, say campaigners. The link between London and Leeds would cut straight through a new marina on the Chesterfield Canal, which isn't on the map of the route.