Call for more clarity on 'cruel' HS2 plans as Nuthall residents still face uncertain future

Councillors are calling on the government for more clarification surrounding ‘cruel’ HS2 plans as residents living in places like Nuthall still face ongoing uncertainty over the future.

By Lucy Roberts
Tuesday, 7th December 2021, 11:10 am
Updated Tuesday, 7th December 2021, 11:10 am
Residents living in places like Toton, Long Eaton, Stapleford and Nuthall are left with ongoing uncertainty over the future of their homes and local areas under HS2 plans.
Residents living in places like Toton, Long Eaton, Stapleford and Nuthall are left with ongoing uncertainty over the future of their homes and local areas under HS2 plans.

Leader of Broxtowe Borough Council, councillor Milan Radulovic, wants to draw up a motion asking the government for clarification and to remove ‘safeguarding route’ measures that could see HS2 go through Toton sometime in the future.

This follows concerns that residents living in places like Toton, Long Eaton, Stapleford and Nuthall are left with ongoing uncertainty over the future of their homes and local areas.

The proposed motion includes asking questions on time scales, infrastructure and rail plans, and how much money Broxtowe will be receiving after Toton missed out on the HS2 hub in an announcement from Government last month.

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HS2 lines will instead go to a new base at East Midlands Parkway, and HS2 trains will travel from there to Nottingham train station on main rail network lines.

There will be a new main rail network station in Toton and a disused line through north Nottinghamshire will be re-opened.

But the Toton station will not act as a high-speed hub for the multi-billion-pound HS2 project as originally planned.

Councillors sitting on a Policy and Performance Committee on Thursday, December 2, had reservations about the plans.

Cllr Philip Owen, representing Nuthall and Strelley, said he was in favour of the HS2 hub being at East Midlands Parkway due to “the damage it will bring to the communities” he represents if built in Toton.

But he has concerns that the government has safeguarded the abandoned route, which could affect the area in the future.

He said: “It is clear it has been cancelled but the route is still safeguarded, which means people are living in limbo for longer.

“It is not unfair, it is cruel. That safeguarding needs to be removed so people can enjoy their lives again rather than having this cloud hanging over them.”

Councillor Tim Hallam added: “The safeguarding does need to go.”

He also shared his concerns about whether Nottingham train station had the capacity to deal with the new planned connections of HS2.

He said this could affect other train services as a result.

“It is a sorry state of affairs,” he added.

There were also concerns raised about the fact a government commitment to see a new station for Toton needed to be part-funded by private investment.

Councillor Greg Marshall said: “Rail experts that I know have never heard of the concept of a part privately funded station anywhere else in the country.

“The concept that in these economic times you are going to get private investors stomping up £50m to £100m for a station that is not going to be the most connected station in the country.

“I think it is fanciful and we should be demanding as a local authority a fully government funded station at Toton.”

Cllr Richard Jackson, opposition Conservative leader at the council, said he was “a bit disturbed” by some councillors calling the proposals on the table “a disaster and the worst day for Broxtowe.”

“It isn’t,” he said. “We would have all liked the HS2 station to come to Toton. What we have got is £13billion of investment into the region.

“There is high confidence we will get the station built at Toton and it is not dissimilar to Section 106 agreements for transport infrastructure.

“What would be a problem is senior members of this council and others running around and talking this down suggesting it is not going to happen.

“Let’s park the politics a little bit. We have got something far better than the worst case scenario.”