End of the line for HS2

CAMPAIGN:  Former Rother Valley MP Kevin Barron joins the Bramley groupCAMPAIGN:  Former Rother Valley MP Kevin Barron joins the Bramley group
CAMPAIGN: Former Rother Valley MP Kevin Barron joins the Bramley group
CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating the scrapping of the HS2 rail project which they say would have devastated their village.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the cancellation of the high-speed link between Birmingham and Manchester, saying £36 billion will now be put into alternative transport projects instead.

Bramley Action Group’s Sandra Haith said years of hard work and worry for communities such as Bramley, Wales Bar and Aston - along with millions of pounds - could have been saved had protesters across the country been listened to in the first place.

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She said: “This has brought seven-and-a-half years of campaigning to an end.

“Sadly, if the government had listened to the action groups much sooner, millions of pounds of taxpayers money could have been saved. The arguments Rishi Sunak used for cancelling HS2 are exactly the same arguments that we have been putting forward for years.

“It’s been a long hard slog for members of the joint campaign groups, and I hope that our continued efforts went some way towards influencing this decision and finally achieving victory.”

The announcement comes on top of the cancellation in 2021 of the route between the East Midlands and Leeds, and Sandra added: “Our route, the Eastern leg, was put on hold two years ago, causing a short period of elation. This was cut short when we were told that safeguarding of property would still remain in place pending a further two year study on how to get HS2 trains to Leeds. As far as I know, two years on and those studies had not even commenced.

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“However, luckily, the whole of HS2 in our region has now been scrapped, including those studies, so hopefully residents will be released from safeguarding very soon.”

Sandra said the high-speed line would have cut through the east side of Bramley as it followed the M18 motorway, creating noise and disruption during building, and bringing “untold devastation” and “heartbreak”, with no benefits.

Rother Valley MP Alexander Stafford said on X (Twitter) that the scrapping of the project was good news for the north, and added: “At last funds from this expensive, overpriced white elephant can be released to give us the East West connectivity we actually need and want."

HS2 was intended to cut journey times between London and major cities in the Midlands and North of England, and create more space on the rail network, but the project faced delays, spiralling costs and cuts.

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The first cost estimate in 2010 was for around £33 billion with the government's most recent official figure put at £71 billion – around £24.7 billion had been spent on HS2 as of February 2023.

It will now eventually run from London to Birmingham Interchange, with branches to central Birmingham and Handsacre, near Lichfield. HS2 trains for Manchester, Liverpool and Scotland will join the West Coast Main Line at Handsacre.