HS2 reaction: Eastern leg on the route 'nobody wanted'

 

The preferred route for HS2's Phase 2b has raised controversy in the region, with senior local figures calling it the route 'nobody wanted'.

On Monday transport secretary Chris Grayling confirmed that the eastern leg of HS2 will now serve Sheffield via a spur and run further to the East than previously planned.

”Local

Cllr Ros Jones, mayor of Doncaster, where homes will be demolished to accommodate the new route, called it a ‘second rate solution’ and ‘simply the wrong decision’.

She said: ‘The secretary of state has chosen the route that nobody wanted, despite the overwhelming evidence against it and public opposition to it. His decision will destroy people’s homes and damage communities, deliver fewer trains, slower services, and reduce job creation and economic growth.

‘It will also cost the taxpayer at least £1bn more, once additional running costs and infrastructure have been taken into account.’

A spokesperson for West Yorkshire Combined Authority said: ‘I am pleased to see that these proposed changes could open up opportunities for greater integration with Transport for the North’s Northern Powerhouse Rail network.’

Penny Gaines, chair of Stop HS2, said: ‘More environmental destruction, more cost, but no new ideas - that's what HS2 Phase 2b is. While it has been presented to help transport in the north, HS2 is mainly about making it easier to get to London, as there are no east west links involved.

‘It will make no difference to journeys from Leeds to Manchester or Sheffield to Manchester. And with no links to HS1 in the plans, it will not help with journeys from the north to continental Europe.’

Cllr Jon Collins, vice chair of East Midlands Councils (EMC), and chair of the East Midlands HS2 Strategic Board said: ‘The Hub Station at Toton will be the most connected high speed station outside London, and has the potential to be an inspiring 21st century gateway to the East Midlands and a destination in its own right.

‘We now need make sure the Government gets on with building the eastern leg to Leeds as soon as possible and that HS2 does not stop at Birmingham.’

Cllr Simon Spencer, acting vice chair of the EMC HS2 Strategic Board, called the announcement ‘great news for Chesterfield and the wider Derbyshire economy’.

He said: ‘We are already working on exciting proposals for using HS2 to transform links between Chesterfield Station and the town centre and to use the proposed Infrastructure Maintenance Depot at Staveley to drive the regeneration of the Staveley corridor.’

Marie-Claude Hemming, director of external affairs for the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA), called the announcement ‘a major step towards boosting connectivity across the UK’.

She said: ‘We must now move forward to getting spades in the ground on what will be the most important infrastructure scheme built yet this century.

‘Our members now look forward to working with government to deliver this world-class project without delay.’

 

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