HS2 consults community over rail link

HUCKNALL and Annesley Woodhouse residents were among more than 200 people who attended a consultation event about the proposed High-Speed Two (HS2) rail link.

The seven-hour event at Bilborough College, Nottingham, last Saturday was an opportunity for local people to speak to engineering and environmental specialists about the groundbreaking plan.

The scheme would provide a 250mph rail link between London and Birmingham from 2026, with lines to Leeds and Manchester by 2032.

Maps were on view, showing the route location, while residents were invited to use sound booths which simulated the expected noise impact. The nearest station to the Dispatch district would be Toton.

The route would run close to the Rolls-Royce site off Watnall Road, Hucknall, where about 900 homes and a business park are proposed. The line would also be only 175 metres away from one house in the west of Hucknall.

Rachel Antony-Roberts, community stakeholder manager with HS2 Ltd, said: “We are in discussion with the local authority to ensure that there is minimum impact on the local community.”

She added that an embankment and a small viaduct were proposed to protect a Site of Special Scientific Interest in Annesley Woodhouse.

In the New Year, responses from the consultation will be taken into account before more detailed design work is produced.

The chairman of Hucknall’s Reach Out residents group, Sally Wyatt, who attended the consultation, said it was very well organised, with lots of information available.

But she added: “I still can’t believe it is going to bring any benefits to Hucknall. There may be a tram spur to get to the Toton station but how many Hucknall people would take the trouble to use it?

“I was told that the HS2 would take no freight whatsoever, which would have freed up the capacity on the main railway line.”

Coun Chris Baron (Lab), of Hucknall, who is leader of Ashfield District Council, said one advantage of the project was that it would provide jobs during construction of the line.

He thought it important to ensure that the Midland main line was electrified to provide an improved alternative service for passengers to get to London or the North.

“An obvious concern is that Hucknall people who bought their houses in good faith would find they are a relatively short distance from the HS2 line,” he added.