HS2 in Derbyshire - arguments for and against

An artist's impression of HS2.
An artist's impression of HS2.

Views have been expressed across Derbyshire after the Government announced a review into the high-speed rail network, HS2.

The 'independent and vigorous' review by retired engineer Douglas Oakervee will consider whether the major project should still go ahead - or if changes need to be made to elements of the scheme.

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Chesterfield Labour MP Toby Perkins described the Government's review as 'ridiculous and foolish'. "This is precisely why Britain's rail infrastructure remains stuck in the Victorian era," he added.

North East Derbyshire Conservative MP Lee Rowley said: "We do need new rail capacity and I'm supportive of opportunities that HS2 will bring to the area. But 1) it can't be at any price and 2) it needs re-checking that the project still stacks up. The Government is right to stand back and review."

Chris Hobson, director of policy at Derbyshire chamber of commerce, said: "The chamber will continue to champion HS2 as a hugely significant and much-needed infrastructure project which will have a positive and transformational effect on the East Midlands and the UK as a whole. Since the Victorian age we have merely tinkered around the edges of a rail network that is no longer fit for purpose to the businesses which rely on it to grow, create wealth and enhance our communities. A step change is needed and we firmly believe HS2 is that step change. This isn't just about speed and getting people from A to B. It's about greater connectivity, improved capacity, an enhanced ability to transfer the goods we make and an aspirational, ambitious and forward-thinking Britain. Of course the caveat to all this is cost. We absolutely need HS2 but we equally need to ensure value for money; there can be no blank cheque, especially given the magnitude of this project. We look forward to the findings of Douglas Oakervee's review, which must be conducted swiftly to minimise project delays and maximise the undoubted opportunities HS2 presents."

Maria Machancoses, director of Midlands Connect - which explores, develops and recommends transport projects - said: "The massive benefits of HS2 to the Midlands are already being felt. Although a review must rightly scrutinise the project's deliverability, benefits and costs, we must not lose sight of the fact that HS2 will transform our transport network for the next century. Scrapping it or de-scoping it would be a disaster for the Midlands and the whole country. We're pleased that West Midlands Mayor Andy Street is on the review panel to promote the interests of the region. But it's vital that the East Midlands isn't ignored in this process either. Therefore, Midlands Connect will be submitting compelling evidence to the review concerning the benefits of HS2 to the whole of the Midlands. Far beyond those places with dedicated HS2 stations, many Midlands towns and cities will benefit from the rail capacity that HS2 will release. Midlands Connect has also submitted a strong business case to the government and HS2 Ltd for direct conventional-compatible links to Nottingham and Leicester city centres, via the HS2 East Midlands Hub at Toton. HS2 also underpins the case for improvements we're proposing to the classic rail network, including our flagship Midlands Rail Hub scheme to transform east-west links across the Midlands. Doug Oakervee has already been in touch with Midlands Connect and we look forward to using his review to rally business and civic leaders from across the region once more to re-emphasise in the strongest possible terms that the Midlands needs HS2 to be built in full to rebalance the economy and unite the country."

Tom Thackray, director of infrastructure at business organisation the CBI, said: "The business message on HS2 is clear-cut - back it, build it, benefit from it. The debate has gone round the houses too many times. We firmly believe that committing to HS2 in full, once and for all, will spread the flow of investment across the Midlands, the north of England and into Scotland. The current poor connectivity in the north is a major obstacle to encouraging companies from growing in the region and is a barrier to inward investment."

Sajeeda Rose, chief executive of D2N2 - the Local Enterprise Partnership covering Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire - said: "HS2 is already having a large and positive impact on our economy supporting over 7,000 jobs and 2,000 businesses nationally, 300 of those from across the Midlands. In a national environment of greater and greater traffic demands on ageing infrastructure, HS2 is the most efficient and fastest method of public transportation across the country. D2N2 remains confident that HS2 will stimulate significant growth within Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire in the form of around 74,000 new jobs, £4b added to the economy, and increased prosperity for our communities. I trust that the review will come to the same conclusion. We stand ready with our partners to continue to press the case for HS2 to the Government in the strongest possible terms."

Peter Swallow, chairman of Destination Chesterfield and managing director of Bolsterstone Group, developer of Chesterfield Waterside, said: "HS2 is already bringing investment to the area and opening the door for more. It has helped Chesterfield secure a £9m investment from Spanish train company Talgo which will build its innovation hub at Barrow Hill. The promise of an HS2 stop on the doorstep of Chesterfield Waterside has also enabled the scheme to attract significant interest from both national and international level investors. Once here HS2 will provide extensive opportunities for local jobseekers, school leavers and businesses. HS2 is bringing, and will continue to bring, prosperity to Chesterfield and North East Derbyshire. It is a success story in the making which will have far reaching benefits for the town, its residents and business community."

Rod Auton, a spokesperson for the Chesterfield Canal Trust, said: "The Chesterfield Canal Trust has always been neutral about the HS2 project. However, it has campaigned vigorously to ensure that HS2 does not stop the restoration of the Chesterfield Canal, which has been blighted since the original announcement. MPs Toby Perkins and Lee Rowley have both been working hard for many months to get written assurances that the Staveley depot spur crossing at Lowgates will not interfere with the canal. We still await these assurances. We also await firm information from HS2 about the mainline crossing at Norwood, where we want to put a new tunnel under both HS2 and the M1."

Tony Mellors, from the HS2 Blackwell Group, said: "Newton in Blackwell lies in the jaws of two HS2 lines. Thirty families have been encouraged to move out and sell their homes to HS2 Ltd. Those remaining will experience 15 years of construction disruption and permanent loss of agricultural and recreational land, and much-valued friends and neighbours. The nature of our villages will change completely - and for what? A trainline expected to bring economic benefits to the whole country of £90b against the latest forecast cost of £86b. Please let common sense prevail and scrap it."

Brent Poland, from Stop HS2 Erewash, said: "The economic benefits and jobs we keep hearing about are coming out of our national taxes and local purse. We have other more pressing issues to deal with such as hospital bed shortages, knife crime and school funding cuts. We cannot simply afford to bankroll HS2. Should this project go ahead we will fight it, should it be moved we will fight it, should this project be altered we will fight it. We demand nothing less than the complete scrapping of HS2 and the victims of the project to receive both an apology and adequate compensation for the trauma that they have suffered."

Commenting on our social media pages, Janice Flintham said: "I for one would be happy to see it scrapped due to the fact it is going through the village where I live. We would get all the upset, mess and inconvenience and none of the benefits. The amount of houses that are due for demolition will change the village for ever."

Jill Hancock said: "Scrap it please and keep our countryside, businesses and homes."

Dave Longden said: "Scrap the white elephant vanity project."

Glenis Rumsby said: "Scrap the darn thing. Upgrade existing infrastructure."

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