Objectors to a new high-speed railway line have claimed it would tear through the heart of the countryside and come within yards of explorer Charles Waterton’s grave.
The High Speed Two line would run just west of Anglers Country Park, and just east of Walton and Kirkthorpe, on its way from Sheffield to Leeds.
And the route of the The £32bn network, which will be complete by 2032, will get passengers from Leeds to London in 80 minutes at speeds of up to 250mph, it was announced this week.
But Wintersett birdwatcher Pete Smith said it looks likely to run next to Walton Hall woods, which is considered to be the world’s first nature reserve and the place where conservationist Charles Waterton was buried.
Mr Smith said: “A historically important site like that is going to have a big train coming right past it. It’s going to ruin a beautiful, picturesque and tranquil area which is also a haven for wildlife.”
But business bosses said Wakefield’s transport network needed to be “HS2-ready” in order to share the expected £2.3bn worth of benefits to Yorkshire’s economy.
Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership chairman Neil McLean said: “HS2 will bring real benefits to all our cities by freeing capacity on the existing local rail network and improving connections to the capital and European markets, which will in turn shape business investment decisions and enhance our competitiveness on the world stage.”
Leader of Wakefield Council, Coun Peter Box, said the council would do what it could to get Wakefield’s rail services ready, and urged people to have their say in public consultation which will open later this year.
Jon Trickett MP said HS2 was a positive development but said the route, was “deeply concerning”.
He said: “Urgent questions need to be asked about the impact on an area with such outstanding beauty that is enjoyed by so many.”
For more details on the scheme, visit www.hs2.org.uk