“A COMPLETE waste of money that will destroy our village.”
That was the resounding view from people living in Aston at an information event on the controversial HS2 rail scheme.
Hundreds of residents attended the event last Thursday to see the latest proposals for themselves at Aston Hall Hotel.
The high-speed rail route is planned to run close to the A57 Aston Bypass and cut through the village next to Parklands Equestrian Centre and Aston Hall Cricket Club.
Among those viewing the plans was Dave Horsley, whose Green Lane home is 160 metres from the proposed rail line.
He said: “I think it’s a white elephant.
“It’s just a complete waste of money - there is just no need for it.
“It’s just spoiling a glorious part of South Yorkshire for no reason.”
Mr Horsley (46) said he had spoken to HS2 bosses about possible compensation schemes for his home.
“I can either sell it to HS2 and rent it back from them or try and sell it myself, which I’m not going to do now.
“But I don’t have a mortgage - so why would I sell it to them and pay rent every month.”
Also viewing the proposals was Leila Richardson, who has lived in Aston for 43 years.
Mrs Richardson, of Church Lane, said: “It is a complete waste of money.
“They are destroying our village for no reason because if you look at the map, they could have gone to the other side of the M1.
“This is all for the sake of getting to London 20 minutes quicker - why can’t people just get up earlier?
“We have not found anybody that is in favour of it.”
HS2 had been criticised by residents at previous consultation events for a lack of local knowledge on the areas affected.
And while Mr Horsley said he thought it had improved, it was still difficult to get answers to certain questions.
“I think they have a better understanding of the impact it will have on the village,” he said.
“But I do think that all of the HS2 staff you speak to are just mouthpieces for them.”
Mr Horsley said people living in the village would continue to fight the proposals “for as long as they can”.
Speaking at a similar information event in Mexborough last Tuesday, HS2’s head of scheme development Stephen McFarlane said they hoped the meetings would win over the public.
He said: “There are a lot of questions about property and compensation and that’s been an important part of the consultation.
“Others have been asking about the impact of the line for them.
“What we are looking for is to ensure people have an opportunity to speak to us and ask questions.
“If you look at the effort we put into these information events, you cannot say it’s just a PR stunt.”
Mr McFarlane said that an environmental impact assessment of the route was now underway and there may be problems discovered in the future that required solutions to be found.