My Rothwell Labour ward colleague David Nagle and I arranged for the new leader of Leeds City Council, Cllr Judith Blake, and Keith Wakefield, the former council leader and now chair of the combined transport authority, to come and meet the local campaigning group of residents HS2SoWhat. The meeting took place on Saturday 12 September. This was Keith’s third meeting with the group at the request of us councillors and group members. We attended along with MP Alec Shelbrooke.
Cllr Blake sympathised with the plight of local people, her sister is in exactly the same position in another part of the country with the HS2 line proposed to run at the bottom of her garden.
Cllr Blake and Cllr Wakefield stressed throughout the meeting, they understood the frustrations of local people, but that this is a national government project and the decision on both the route and compensation will be made by government.
They confirmed that the council’s position is:
- Not happy with the government and HS2’s preferred route coming through Woodlesford
- The compensation package offered to residents is not good enough
- The HS2 station should be as close and as integrated as possible to the existing station as engineering will allow
Cllr Blake asked Alec Shelbrooke if he had heard anything about either the re-route or his alternative plans for tunnelling, Alec said he had not.
Cllr Blake said it was the responsibility of local MP Alec Shelbrooke, along with other partners and the council to continue to push for a better deal for Woodlesford residents, including better compensation for local people, however ultimately it was the decision of the government.
It is hoped that there will be an announcement at the end of October regarding the route and compensation in the autumn spending review.
David and I really sympathise with residents, it is appalling how those impacted the most on the government’s preferred route have been treated by HS2 from the start. We put in our own submission on the route and the compensation demanding a better deal for residents in the consultation period, but with it being a government project it’s frustrating not being able to do more.
It’s terrible how residents continue to be in limbo and we hope that there will be an announcement soon as residents need to know where they stand. We are dearly hoping that the government has listened and will act on the needs and concerns of local residents.