HS2 will bring only debt and destruction

From: Mrs J Mason, Common Lane, Church Fenton, Tadcaster.

MUCH is made of the ability of HS2 to bridge the North-South divide and boost the economy of the regions. However, if this grand folly was to go ahead, it would have exactly the opposite effect. Where a capital city has primacy and links to regional cities are improved, it has the effect of sucking economic activity, and hence prosperity, to the capital away from the regions.

There is evidence for this from all over Europe. Even in cities such as Seville, where HSR reduced journey times by many hours, the only businesses attracted went there to take advantage of government subsidies, not because of HSR.

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As the subsidies have been removed, the businesses have left, leaving the economy of the region in the doldrums. Even countries that have previously been keen advocates of HSR are abandoning their plans to extend their networks, and we hear of country after country cancelling schemes, as construction costs rocket, passenger numbers dwindle, and the burden of subsidising services becomes too much to bear.

It is madness for the UK to consider going down this route. HS2 can bring only two things to this country: debt and destruction.

From: Frances Gigg, Church Fenton.

I WOULD like to highlight the effect that the HS2 proposals have already had on the lives of thousands of people.

The people in my village are tired of being called “nimbys” by people who think we should just grin and bear HS2 for the good of the country. I don’t think they understand the true position. All but a few of us are not entitled to any compensation, but mortgage lenders are refusing to give mortgages on our properties, rendering them impossible to sell.

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The Government says that within a few years of the new line’s completion, property values will return to normal, so we cannot expect any compensation unless we have a really pressing need to move in the meantime .

What this does not take into account is that this will not happen for something like 25 years. I will be a very elderly lady by then. I will have been forced to spend something like a third of my entire life being financially blighted by this project and unable to realise my only capital asset. The cruelty of this situation is devastating. The Government claims to support strivers and savers, but it has robbed me of a secure retirement overnight. And for good measure I get labelled a “nimby” for complaining.

From: Stephen Phillips, Fieldside Court, Church Fenton.

I AM really concerned that the funded pro-HS2 lobby is getting a prominent hearing in your paper. I have not seen any actual evidence that convinces me that we should spend £73bn on this project (cited in the Financial Times).

There are so many other worthy projects that could generate the economy of the North of England. We need better transport links east to west of the country, not North to South, which may drain jobs from the North.

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In an era of high technology, I do not visit London for my business anymore, utilising Skype and conference calls, but the quality of that option can only be improved if we spend more on IT technology. It is a joke to say it will bring jobs to the North.

It is amazing that we have to rely on the Chinese and French for our future power, our NHS which was the envy of the world in crisis but we could have a fast train in its place! Yippee I could save 10 minutes travel time to London from York – what a trade off!

From: Allan and Christina Sillence, Church Fenton.

HS2 is a grandstand project supported by an unsound business case, and continually shifting argument on need and failing to stand up to scrutiny.

Here we have a multi-billion pound project originally sold on speed (saving 20 minutes from York to London) now discredited, now it is trying to be sold on capacity – again a limp reason when existing networks could be improved at far less cost to the nation and the environment. Why are we pursuing this project when the rest of Europe are in fact cancelling HSR?

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This country has far more deserving projects on which this vast amount of money could be spent, failing health service, improving lives of the poor, some now dependent on food banks, crumbling road networks, the list is endless!

It is time to end this Machiavellian approach to the disposal of billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money.

From: Susi Kakkar, Church Fenton.

AS a Church Fenton resident that lives approximately 120m away from the centre of the track which is elevated at 10m, myself and my family are completely devastated. Not only will it adversely affect the community but also the natural habitats of numerous wildlife.

The proposed route has blighted my property; values in my immediate vicinity have dramatically dropped by 35 per cent. Two doors down a house bought for £415,000 recently sold for £265,000 seven years later! Not only does this impact on the legacy we leave to our two children aged eight and six, but also restricts our ability to move, as we come closer to the date of this being built, as property values will only decrease further.

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Journey times may actually increase as many towns may see their services vastly reduced – Bradford will lose its direct service to London and its residents will have to catch a train to Leeds before they can get onto HS2. Would you want to relinquish living in tranquil, rural countryside in favour of a high- speed train line elevated at 10m, 120m away from your house with no realistic option to move?

Pressing issue

From: Allan Davies, Heathfield, Court, Grimsby.

RECENT correspondence on the popular Press (Yorkshire Post, October 23) reminds me of a peace of doggerel I recall from many years ago.

It read: “Great Britain’s crystal stream of truth shall never flow both pure and clear til we have damned the Beaverbrook and drained the Rothermere.”