VIDEO: '˜Our beautiful village will be cut in two by HS2'
A small Derbyshire village is rapidly emerging as the '˜ground zero' of the fight against the HS2 in the county.
If the latest proposed route gets the go ahead, the residents of Newton fear their village will be ‘cut in two’.
They say it would also mean more than 30 houses being demolished to make way for the line, including some which have not yet been built.
On Saturday, hundreds of residents from across the parish went to the Newton Community Centre to voice their opposition to the plan.
One of those, Emily Smith, 51, lives on Alfreton Road in Newton with her family.
She said: “We have lived here for 20 years so to be told your house is going to be demolished is quite shocking.
“We don’t want to live anywhere else and it is going to cut our beautiful village in two.”
A campaign group has now been set up to protest about the project’s impact on Newton, Blackwell, Hilcote and Westhouses.
It says the part of the line which would affect them, the so-called HS2 ‘spur’, is unnecessary and has only been added so Sheffield gets a city centre station.
The group points to the fact that the HS2 trains, which will serve Sheffield, will not be running at HS2 speed as they have to transfer to existing lines before they reach Chesterfield.
Hannah Boyle, who lives on a new estate which does not even appear on the plans being used by HS2, said her house is ‘metres away’ from the proposed line.
She said: “There is absolutely zero benefit for Newton whatsoever and houses that are going to be built just months later will be demolished - it is just absurd.
“A beautiful countryside village is just going to be sliced up for the benefit of Sheffield city centre getting a station.”
As well as the villages of Newton, Blackwell, Hilcote and Westhouses, HS2 would also cut a swathe through the nearby Doe Hill Country Park.
The park was created in the early 2000s on the site of a former open cast mine and is well used by dog walkers and cyclists.
Ruth Burrows lives in Newton and uses it regularly.
She said: “HS2 is going to plough through Doe Hill at the highest point as wide as a football pitch.
“They spent so much time and money over the last 20 years to create this lovely nature park.
“And now it will just be another area devastated by the HS2 spur.”
Hundreds of people have already completed consultation forms at meetings registering their opposition to the plan.
And the campaign has received the backing of local MP Dennis Skinner, who secured a debate in Parliament to raise their concerns.
n To find out more, visit https://www.facebook.com/blackwellparish.
“HS2 is a once in a lifetime opportunity to improve travel”
A spokesman for HS2 Ltd said: “HS2 is a once in a lifetime opportunity to dramatically improve journeys, boosting capacity, improving connectivity and helping to rebalance the national economy.
“Consultation is currently underway for part of the route potentially impacting on the village of Newton – including five residential properties that may be required for construction of the railway near Newton.
“We encourage residents to take part by March 9 as this is an important part of the design process.
“We expect the Secretary of State to make a decision on the preferred route later this year.
“Once confirmed, we can then start the more detailed design.
“We’ll continue to engage with the local community to ensure we reflect local concerns and priorities.
“We are aware of the new development at Newton Fields and are currently in discussion with the developer regarding a number of homes under construction and homes that have not yet been sold.”