Wakefield Council leader Peter Box slams government over HS2

HS2 will travel through the Dearne Valley.
HS2 will travel through the Dearne Valley.

HS2 will not benefit the Wakefield district after little was done to address the concerns of people living near the high-speed rail line.

That’s according to Wakefield Council leader Peter Box, who blasted the government over HS2 after the route of the controversial transport project was confirmed.

A planned rail depot near Crofton on the Birmingham-Leeds part of HS2 has been ditched, to the relief of people living nearby.

But the concession has failed to convince Wakefield Council to drop its official opposition to HS2, which critics say is a waste of public money which will bring little economic benefit.

Coun Box said: “Whilst the announcement brings some measure of relief for Crofton it does absolutely nothing to address the wider concerns felt by many of our residents and this council.

“No real case has been made for the benefits to Wakefield, and local people are still waiting for answers about the economic impact of HS2.”

Wakefield Council leader Peter Box

Wakefield Council leader Peter Box

The confirmed route, which would be running until 2033, will run north through the district to the West of South Elmsall and Hemsworth, then east of Crofton and west of Altofts.

Opponents say the £56bn scheme say it will carve up the district’s towns and village, destroy wildlife habitats and drive down property prices.

Coun Box said: “It is incredulous that there has at this stage been little or no attempt by HS2 to understand the impact the proposal will have on our communities.

“This council is hugely supportive of investment but we firmly believe it should be used to upgrade rail connections between the cities and towns in the North’s east and west and to make the national highway fit for purpose.

“This would improve vital connectivity giving clear social and economic benefits for this district, and the north.

“With no tangible benefits coming to Wakefield, we simply cannot support HS2, as it stands, and will continue to do all we can to make the voices of our residents heard.”

Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett took to Twitter to voice his continuing opposition to the HS2 route.

In a video message he said: “We got the result we wanted on the depot. But obviously there’s still a lot to do. The route itself is very damaging to our area. We’ve got to stop it.”