HS2 Ltd has announced a further consultation on 11 proposed changes to the design of Phase 2b, the section of the HS2 route from the West Midlands to Leeds.
HS2 Ltd propose no design refinements in the immediate local area of Swillington, Oulton, Woodlesford or Garforth, despite calls for changes from Alec, local councillors and the SOWHAT action group. Instead, HS2 Ltd has proposed a design refinement in Leeds (refinement #6 Leeds Corridor, Woodlesford to Leeds Station). This refinement changes the height of the route for 8km on the approach into Leeds Station, installing a viaduct rather than a combination of at ground level cutting and embankment.
This is subject to consultation.
Alec, who recently wrote to the Chair of the Transport Select Committee asking for a review of HS2’s entry to Leeds, responded to this latest announcement with a strong response to HS2 Ltd. He said:
“I continue to object to these route proposals. I previously welcomed the fact that Hs2 Ltd changed their original plan for a concrete viaduct through Woodlesford but since then this process has seemed like one fudge after another. There has been no answer to concerns regarding the tunnel entrance at Fleet Lane; no answer to concerns raised at Clumpcliffe; no answer to concerns about construction traffic and spoil extraction around Oulton; and no answer to whether there is still need for a main line route connection through Swillington and Garforth. This latest refinement – with a viaduct heading into Leeds from the Rothwell Country Park – is the last straw. This latest fudge is happening because the Labour-run Leeds City Council is determined to have a city centre station configuration that requires an entry route through Woodlesford. Hs2 Ltd, the Department for Transport and Leeds City Council should revisit my original re-route suggestion: taking a route from the M1, following the existing M621 transport corridor to a reconfigured city centre station. Leeds City Council recently passed a motion reiterating its support for HS2, but it remains my view that they shouldn’t be supporting a route built on the backs of my constituents”.
The latest consultation will close at 23:45 on 6 September 2019.
To access the consultation documents and for details on how to respond, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/hs2-phase-2b-design-refinement-consultation
HS2 Ltd is holding a series of public information events near each of the proposed changes. For details of the events, please visit www.hs2.org.uk/phase2b.
UPDATED – 18th July 2019
On Thursday 18th July 2019 Alec told the House of Commons that he has had it with HS2 and Leeds City Council. For six years Alec has tried to be pragmatic and work with HS2 to get a better deal for his constituents. He’s had some success, but the latest route change – made to help deliver Leeds Council’s city-centre station plan – ride roughshod over those he represents in Rothwell and surrounding areas.
Watch Alec’s speech here: