Derby’s HS2 vision could ‘damage Alfreton’ says town mayor

Undated handout image issued by HS2 of the Birmingham and Fazeley viaduct, part of the new proposed route for the HS2 high speed rail scheme. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday April 3, 2012. A group campaigning against the Government's HS2 high-speed rail project is to go ahead with court action to try to halt the �32 billion scheme. HS2 Action Alliance (HS2AA) is seeking two judicial reviews of the scheme, whose first phase will see 200mph trains running through Tory heartlands between London and Birmingham. See PA story RAIL HS2. Photo credit should read: HS2/PA Wire 'NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Undated handout image issued by HS2 of the Birmingham and Fazeley viaduct, part of the new proposed route for the HS2 high speed rail scheme. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday April 3, 2012. A group campaigning against the Government's HS2 high-speed rail project is to go ahead with court action to try to halt the �32 billion scheme. HS2 Action Alliance (HS2AA) is seeking two judicial reviews of the scheme, whose first phase will see 200mph trains running through Tory heartlands between London and Birmingham. See PA story RAIL HS2. Photo credit should read: HS2/PA Wire 'NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

The backlash over plans to connect Derby with the £50 billion HS2 network has mounted further - after fears the line could cut through an Alfreton beauty spot.

In July Derby City Council put forward proposals to the Department of Transport that the East Midlands link of the line be placed in the city - instead of Toton as previously announced.

The authority says the move would generate thousands of jobs for the region and bring in economic benefits of just under £500 million.

But if its model is given the go-ahead - the most likely route north would go straight past Belper, Ripley and Alfreton as the line heads to Leeds.

This week Alfreton Town Council has weighed in against city council’s plans - as the route could pass through the west field area of Alfreton Park.

Town mayor Cllr John Walker said: “It could damage Alfreton good and proper - but where would the nearest station be to Alfreton?

“It’s alright having a station at Derby and cutting through the beautiful green parts of Alfreton - but it’s of no benefit to Alfreton residents.

Alfreton Town Council are set to discuss whether to oppose Derby City Council’s plans as part of its monthly council meeting on Tuesday, October 15.

Cllr Walker stressed that the council is only working off a predicted route north of Derby, but believes the town would be better served by a HS2 station at Toton Sidings.

It is also feared the predicted route would head through land near Eachwell Lane, where planning permission has been granted for 149 homes, and near to the the popular Parkside Riding Stables between Alfreton and Oakerthorpe, which has up to 200 regular riders use the facility each week.

Owner of the Wingfield Road stables Simon Stalker, said: “It would be a disaster for us really - it is something we were not really aware of until now.”

With a £500 million scheme underway to electrify the Midland Mainline from St Pancras to Sheffield and speed up journey times, Cllr Walker says the money for the overall HS2 scheme would be better spent completing the same work on smaller routes such as the Erewash Valley Line. This would enable Midland Mainline trains to divert along the route if needed and speed up the Derbyshire towns’ connectivity with the HS2 line.

A spokesperson for HS2, the company behind the multi-billion high speed rail network being proposed between London, Birmingham and the northern cities, told the News that Derby City Council’s plan is to be considered as part of the consultations on the line.

However the company’s preffered route remains Toton at this stage, he said.

Folk will get the chance to have their say on the proposals at an event at the Post Mill Centre, Market Street, South Normanton, on Monday, December 9, from 12pm until 8pm.