My ward colleague Cllr David Nagle and I are seeking reassurance that resident’s views will be listened to about the HS2 line through south Leeds and in particular near to homes in Woodlesford.
We believe this is even more urgent in the wake of flooding in the area on Boxing Day when the river and canal merged together and created a very wide fast flowing expanse of water trying to force itself under Swillington Bridge. This is in the vicinity of the government and HS2’s preferred route coming through Woodlesford.
This recent flood highlighted what we already know that Woodlesford and the Locks area is unsuitable for HS2 to tear through.
These photos are a few of many taken by David during the Christmas ﬂoods when they hit Yorkshire. David did an inspection tour in Woodlesford and took lots of photographs to use as evidence to the government and HS2 about the area’s unsuitability to be the HS2 route into Leeds. You can see more of David’s photos here on the Rothwell News Facebook page.
We’re just glad that no Woodlesford homes were damaged. It was awful to watch the scenes unfolding in many areas where homes and businesses were under seige from rainwater. The recent flood protection works near the Maltings seem to have been effective, and that Woodlesford didn’t see th devastation to homes that some local areas did.
When the Tory and Liberal Democrat government scrapped funding for the Leeds-wide flood alleviation scheme in 2011 it was local Labour councillors and council that stepped in and secured the money to put in place the recently constructed flood defences near the Maltings in Woodlesford that prevented the damage seen elsewhere occurring in Woodlesford.
The recent flooding along with the former mine works underneath the area make it folly for the government to press ahead with plans for HS2 to cut through Woodlesford when we cannot predict the potentially dire consequences.
David and I have met a number of times with senior representatives of Leeds City Council and the region, including Councillor Judith Blake, the leader of the Council and Councillor Keith Wakefield, when he was leader of the Council and then as chair of the transport authority to keep the issue at the forefront.
HS2 Ltd has told the council that it is currently considering the routes and that residents views will be considered.
Leeds City Council’s executive board met to discuss HS2 at their meeting on 16th December 2015. The executive board report states that the council is continuing to press HS2 Ltd to change the current preferred route, which has:
“in places unacceptable, impacts on local communities which will undermine the economic and social benefits of HS2.”
We continue to wait for a response about Woodlesford and we have been advised it could be late 2016 before we hear back. We know how frustrated residents are that it will have taken almost three years to get a response from the government.
Local people have been clear about what they would like to see and we hope the government and HS2 will listen to pressure from both residents and ourselves. Only time will tell though, we hope that they will look at what we have said about the route, especially on how close it is to homes in Woodlesford.
The reality going forward is sadly, as homes and businesses, many not too far from us, try to get back on their feet, that the Tory government has slashed Yorkshire’s ﬂood defence budget putting local people and businesses at further risk. It’s another example of the Tory’s contempt for the north.