Campaigners urge council to oppose high-speed rail link

Have your say

CAMPAIGNERS fighting against the proposed HS2 rail link yesterday handed a 700-signature petition to Wakefield Council’s leader.

More than a dozen members of AKA (Altofts and Kirkthorpe) Against HS2 met with Coun Peter Box yesterday as the January 31 deadline approaches for the local authority to submit its views to the Government.

HS2 would pass through Wakefield for 11.4 miles and would impact on council wards in Crofton, Ryhill and Walton, Featherstone, Normanton, Altofts and Whitwood and Stanley and Outwood.

Altofts-based estate agent Stephen Abson, 45, of pressure group AKA Against HS2, said the group wants the council to formally oppose HS2.

Mr Abson said: “The only benefit that HS2 provides is a 20 minute reduction in travel time to London on a service from Wakefield that is already under two hours.”

Mr Abson said the rail link would have a major negative impact on the historic nature reserve at Walton Hall Estate and also on Wintersett Lakes.

He said Altofts residents faced being cut off from Wakefield as construction work on HS2 would affect Birkwood Road at Stanley and Black Lane on Heath Common.

Last November, Coun Box said he welcomed investment in Wakefield, but was concerned that questions that needed to be raised on residents’ behalf. And he urged the Government to provide information on how HS2 would benefit Wakefield.

Coun Box said yesterday: “I recognise the strength of feeling of people in Altofts and Kirkthorpe. The council will come to a formal position at its meeting on January 29.”

The news came on the same day that the consultation period for the environmental statement of the HS2 high-speed rail project has been extended by an extra 17 days following a ruling by a Commons committee.