As you are probably aware HS2 is coming to South Yorkshire. What you won’t be aware of, unless you are directly affected by it, is how devastating the news is.
Until we knew it was coming through our villages we felt sympathy for those directly affected but not much more than that.
However, now HS2 is closer to home we hope you take some time to listen to our thoughts. HS2 clearly were not interested in them as we were not informed of, nor invited to, any of the local meetings.
HS2 have been very unhelpful to all involved in the new proposed plans, directing people to contact their MPs and/or councillors with any concern rather than answering any questions anyone may have had.
One such evasion was that the decision to run the route via Sheffield Midland station had already been made in 2013, so why the people on the Meadowhall route had been misinformed is something HS2 were not willing to answer.
The new proposed route is to save money but it may cost as much or more due to the difficulty of the terrain and the refurbishment of Sheffield Midland Station. HS2 want to build a high- speed track on land that is prone to movement due to years of deep tunnel coal- mining activity.
From information we have gathered it seems HS2 should not even be under construction as the premise for it was based on statistics focusing on network capacity in London and the south-east.
This showed that long- distance rail travel was actually decreasing. However, despite this the move to continue its construction seems to roll on regardless of the impact it will have on the environment and people.
As with any area affected by HS2, the damage will be excessive and irretrievable. We seem content to destroy more of our protected environment with no consideration or consultation. Without falling prey to nimbyism we would like to highlight the impact of HS2 on our locality:
Hooton Roberts is an ancient village set in the green belt with a rich history, a 12th century Norman church at its heart, nine listed historical buildings and beautiful rural surroundings.
There will be a huge loss of farmland if the proposed route goes ahead adding to the losses and proposed losses throughout Rotherham as more construction takes place on green belt sites.
We are also concerned about the disruption to the village and local wildlife if construction begins. We will be blighted by years of increased traffic, with noise and dust pollution becoming a way of life, firstly from construction and then from the trains, running at 16 per hour at speeds up to 250km per hour.
Construction will also prevent the ease of access between Rotherham and Doncaster via the A630 as it will be seriously impeded for years.
Last and by no means least will be the depreciation of land and living appeal with HS2 again being vague in terms of what qualifies compensation. There were lots of ifs and buts which added up to nothing concrete to help allay local fears. Indeed, compensation is quantifiable and nothing will ever compensate for a high-speed rail track running at the bottom of your garden.
All this when no-one in the local area will have any benefit from HS2. People will still have to travel into Sheffield which, on average, will take 40 minutes to make use of the service; by which time they could have gone to Doncaster and caught a train to Leeds, London, York or Newcastle and still be there before HS2 arrived. Added to this is the unmissable fact that there is already limited access and parking to Sheffield Midland station, so those wishing to use the HS2 service are likely to be those who can get there on public transport within a reasonable time ie the people of Sheffield.
As taxpayers we are all being forced to put up and pay for a system which will bring no benefits to us due to the flawed use of the statistics used for its inception. We are not saying, ‘not in our backyard’, we are saying no to HS2 in its entirety.
If anyone has any advice for us we would welcome it.
You can contact us via our facebook page @Hooton Roberts & Firsby HS2 Action Group.
Please help us send this white elephant packing.
Hooton Roberts & Firsby HS2 Action Group