‘HS2: There is nothing in it for us’

An image of what HS2 trains could look like.
An image of what HS2 trains could look like.
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Transport experts are organising a public meeting after unveiling plans to alter the proposed route of HS2.

The new route for the high speed rail link could move 40 miles east of the original one, which was planned to pass through Havercroft and Cold Hiendley.

Campaigners delivering objections to the HS2 plans to Wakefield Council's Peter Box in 2014.

Campaigners delivering objections to the HS2 plans to Wakefield Council's Peter Box in 2014.

Now thundering trains could pass near Hemsworth, South Elmsall and Nostell if the route revealed last week is given the go-ahead.

The multi-billion pound high speed rail project aims to cut travelling times to the capital.

Yvette Cooper, MP for Pontefract, Castleford and Normanton, said the plans were “completely unacceptable” and that she is seeking an urgent meeting with HS2 bosses.

It comes after campaigners across the district, including Wakefield Councillors, opposed the original route when it was first announced in 2013.

Councillors voted to oppose the HS2 scheme at a meeting in 2014 and instead called for an £11bn investment package for the district’s existing transport network.

Ms Cooper said: “This is completely unacceptable.

“HS2 haven’t listened to any of our concerns.

“The management team has spent lots of time trying to accommodate Sheffield, Barnsley, Rotherham, Doncaster and Leeds but there is nothing in this for Wakefield district - including no attempt to shift the route away from Altofts or Kirkthorpe, new problems for Nostell Priory and no benefit from the station plans.”

The proposals also include a series of changes to the South Yorkshire route.

Coun Steve Tulley, South Elmsall Town Council leader, said: “As a person who travels on trains every day I think it’s a complete waste of money.

“We need to invest this money in upgrading the transport system we already have, instead of doing this to get us to London 10 minutes quicker.

“There is a case to be made for infrastructure but this is turning people’s lives upside down.”

A number of information events are being organised across the region, where transport experts from HS2 Ltd will to talk to people about the proposed changes to the rail route.

A meeting will be held in Hemsworth on July 28 to discuss the plans, ahead of formal consultations in autumn.

It will take place at the Community Centre, on Bullenshaw Road, on Thursday, July 28 from 12.30pm-8pm.

The new proposed route aims to cut journey times on services heading to Leeds, York and Newcastle.

HS2 bosses also say it would reduce the cost of the project by around £1bn.

HS2 Ltd chairman, David Higgins, said: “Projects of HS2’s size, scale and significance should seek to provide the maximum benefit for the people they serve.”

But MP Yvette Cooper has urged the government’s Transport Secretary to reject the plans.

She said: I’m seeking an urgent meeting with David Higgins who has drawn up these proposals and I want to know what negotiations have taken place with other Yorkshire councils to come up with this plan and why Wakefield Council hasn’t been heard? The Transport Secretary should not sign up to this plan.”

In January 2014, Wakefield Council voted to oppose the government’s plans for the controversial high speed rail link.

Councillors opposed the HS2 scheme at a meeting of full council and instead called for a package of better transport investment for the district. That plan included £11bn to upgrade the road network. It also called for improvements to the existing railways in the area and a new airport in the Leeds city region.