HS2 scrapped: Aston rejoices over reports plans for railway 300 yards from back gardens is axed

For six years, the neighbours of Worksop Road in Aston have dreaded the day of construction beginning on a stretch of the HS2 network just 300 yards from their back gardens.

Thursday, 18th November 2021, 12:20 am

In fact, the proposed railway line would have carved a path straight through Aston at the cost of homes, fields and an equestrian centre.

So the prediction that the Government will scrap the eastern leg of the project from Birmingham through Yorkshire is the end of a six-year-long headache for some in the village.

The decision is expected today.

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Homeowner Andrew Challoner points to the path HS2 would have carved through the field 300 yards from his home in Worksop Road.

“To be honest, I think someone should sue for the stress they’ve put us through,” said one Worksop Road homeowner, Andrew Challoner.

If the route was ever finished, it would have been 108 metres from his bungalow.

"It was so stressful in the early days when they didn’t know what they were doing.

“And they must have wasted so much money on it – the first meetings were held in the village hall, the next was in Aston Hall. How much did that cost? All those consultants have had a good time.

It is rumoured HS2's leg through Yorkshire - and villages like Aston-Cum-Aughton - will be scrapped by the Government after years of stress for homeowners.

“I’m sorry for the people who have moved already.”

“If you had been here yesterday when we read the papers you would have heard cheers,” said another neighbour, Judith Andrews.

“They’ve wasted a lot of money on it. They’ve had a lot of consultants and planers up here, digging for who knows what and looking for all sorts of weird and wonderful wildlife.

“I never thought it was feasible. They should have focused on the east to west links.”

The rumours that No 10 will scrap the Yorkshire leg of HS2, as well as the Northern Powerhouse Rail plan, have been met with jubilation from affected homeowners and derision from politicians and industry heads who see the cancellation as another failed promise.

South Yorkshire mayor Dan Jarvis blasted the move as “the government trying to get away with doing as little as possible to help the North”.

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Its estimated cost has ballooned from £32.7bn in 2021 to an estimated £107.7bn.

The rumoured scrapping of the Eastern Leg – which would have run from Birmingham to Leeds through Yorkshire – is reportedly intended to save costs and focus on upgrading existing routes.

The cancellation will come as cold comfort for any homeowners who already sold their properties for fear of the project damaging house prices – sometimes directly using the Government’s voluntary purchase or Need To Sell scheme.

Anthony Goodall bought his home in Worksop Road six years ago, just weeks before the controversial railway line was announced.

“It’s at the back of your mind always,” said Anthony. “People have been kept in the dark, not knowing what was going to happen.

“But I think we’ve sensed for months it would be cancelled.

“And I hope it does get cancelled. I don’t think it’s needed, just to save 20 minutes or whatever getting to London.”

A member of staff at the nearby Parklands Equestrian Centre said it had been “horrible” to think the route was coming, which would have been drawn directly over the centre’s driveway and at the cost of closing it down.

Despite the jubilation from homeowners, industry heads have criticised scrapping both plans, which they estimate would have created up to 74,000 jobs.