Fury over latest HS2 bombshell

Jonathan Pile.
Jonathan Pile.

Furious campaigners have slammed the government’s Transport Secretary, claiming he “secretively” dealt with a revised high speed rail route which they say will be a “scar through the landscape”.

Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett and the Crofton Against HS2 group said Chris Grayling’s statement offering broad support to amended rail maps has been rushed.

A paper published by the Conservative agreed in principle with the creation of a city centre station in Sheffield and the line taking the route 40 miles east, where a track and stock depot would be built in Crofton.

Labour MP Mr Trickett said: “I’m furious. First of all, it’s been handled secretively. I’ve been asking repeatedly for a meeting with Chris Grayling for weeks.

“I’m going to insist he meets me because this is immensely damaging for our area, especially for Crofton and other areas affected. We’ve got all the pain but we get none of the gain.”

He added that if MPs are asked to vote on the route he will not give it his backing.

“We’re going to be left with a scar through the landscape for a long time to come,” he said.

Chairman of Crofton Against HS2 Jonathan Pile said: “The reaction is anger and frustration. I’m absolutely furious that Chris Grayling has rushed to make this announcement before listening to the communities. This is the worst possible route he has accepted.”

Mr Pile also claimed that High Speed Two Limited, the company running the project, itself rejected the route in 2011.

Phase two of HS2 is set to create a line that splits north of Birmingham, with one arm heading to Yorkshire and the other to the North West.

The route was re-aligned from Derbyshire to West Yorkshire.

This takes it to the east of the Wakefield district, potentially coming in just south east of South Elmsall, running to the west of Hemsworth and east side of Crofton, then joining a route north of the village and going west through Altofts.

HS2 bosses say the revised map will reduce the cost of the project by around £1bn as it aims to cut journey times on services across the North.

Mr Grayling said: “The full HS2 route will be a game-changer for the country that will slash journey times and perhaps most importantly give rail passengers on the existing network thousands of extra seats every day.”

A Department of Transport spokesman said: “We held an information event in the summer for the community to learn about the plans, and there will be further events in January and February next year.

“In response to concerns HS2 Ltd is considering alternative locations for the depot. We will provide an update next year.”

The Government’s backing of the revised route is subject to a consultation which lasts until March 9 next year.

People can share their views by emailing route2b@dialoguebydesign.co.uk