Plans for giant HS2 viaduct in Leeds branded "inadequate"

Plans for a giant viaduct as part of the Government’s HS2 rail project have been branded “inadequate” in a Leeds City Council report.

As part of works for a proposed HS2 line into the city, the government is currently consulting on a change which would involve a viaduct between Woodlesford and Leeds which could be up to 32 metres wide.

A computer generated image of how the HS2 viaduct could look from Balm Road, Hunslet. Image: HS2 Limited

A computer generated image of how the HS2 viaduct could look from Balm Road, Hunslet. Image: HS2 Limited

But, in a draft response to the Government, set to be discussed by Leeds City Council decision-makers next week, the authority claims there is currently not enough information about what it would look like.

Previous plans had the line running mainly on ground level through tunnels and embankments, as well as a short viaduct over the River Aire.

But, should the new plans be approved, the height of the route into Leeds would be changed, with an extra 8km of track being placed on a viaduct.

In a response drafted by Leeds City Council officers, the authority claims it can’t support the proposals without more information.

It stated: “The council’s design refinement consultation response will be clear that the current visual information provided by HS2 Ltd on the viaduct proposal is inadequate.

“Without the inclusion of adequate visual information, the council is unable to comment at present if the proposals set out in the design refinement consultation are acceptable.

“To enable a meaningful consultation with stakeholders, local communities and businesses it is imperative that HS2 Ltd provide a visualisation of the viaduct alongside detailed design information on the architectural style and treatment of the proposed design. The council will press HS2 Ltd as part of our ongoing dialogue to provide this information at the earliest opportunity.”

The proposed change would see the Woodlesford tunnel shortened so that it emerges closer to Woodlesford.

The route then climbs onto a viaduct through the northern edge of Rothwell Country Park and over the M1 and Hallam line into Stourton.

It would be constructed on an embankment for 400 metres between Pontefract Road and the connection into the Rolling Stock Depot to the north of the river. The route then continues on a viaduct for 3.3km into Leeds Station crossing above the highway network, with a typical clearance of 5.7 miles from the road to the underside of the viaduct.