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Campaigners call on Wakefield Council to take a stance on HS2

Members from anti-HS2 protest group AKA-HS2 with banners and documents they will hand to Wakefield Council leader Peter Box, calling for the council to officially object against the government's HS2 scheme.

Members from anti-HS2 protest group AKA-HS2 with banners and documents they will hand to Wakefield Council leader Peter Box, calling for the council to officially object against the government's HS2 scheme.

Villagers have upped their protest against plans for a controversial high speed rail link which would tear through their countryside.

Families in Altofts have been campaigning against the government’s HS2 scheme ever since it was announced a year ago.

On Thursday members of AKA-HS2 (Altofts and Kirkthorpe Against HS2) handed in documents to Wakefield Council leader and Altofts ward member Peter Box, calling on the local authority to officially oppose the scheme.

They want the council to object to the multibillion pound project before a formal consultation ends at the end of the month.

Campaigners have criticised the proposed route, which would take thundering trains just metres from Charles Waterton’s grave at Walton Hall and damage historical sites in Altofts.

And they question the benefits to Wakefield because trains between London and Leeds would not even stop in the city.

Leading objections are Jill and Steve Abson, of Bannockburn Way, Altofts.

Mr Abson, 45, said: “We handed over questionnaires we have collected over the past 12 months since discovering that HS2 would be running through our village.

“We want the council to listen to the people they represent and oppose this scheme.

“We hope that with the council’s opposition, it will help in terms of the larger picture of persuading the government to reconsider the HS2 scheme.

“There is not just an issue with the local impact when it is built, which will be enormous, but it will also have an enormous impact during the construction process. It would see Altofts cut off at either Stanley or Heath Common, which would cause disruption.”

Wakefield Council will discuss HS2 during its full council meeting on Wednesday, January 29. The government’s consultation closes two days later.

Coun Box declined to comment on the issue, but confirmed that the council will come to a formal view on HS2.

Previously Mr Box told an open meeting that he wanted clarity from government ministers about its benefit to the district before they made a decision either way.

Also in November the council’s cabinet agreed that the government had not yet made a case for HS2 being the right sort of investment.

Deputy leader Coun Denise Jeffery said at the time: “There are problems in rural areas like Crofton, Ryhill, Normanton and Altofts. These people need us to campaign on their behalf.”

 

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