Council Leader, Steve Fritchley has welcomed the news that the eastern leg of HS2 has been scrapped.
At his inaugural meeting as Council Leader in May 2019, Cllr Fritchley supported a campaign by a local residents group who were opposed to the proposed HS2 eastern leg cutting through Blackwell Parish. At that meeting Cllr Fritchley was unanimously supported by the Council and said ‘he would scrap the idea’, that ‘it may never happen’ and ‘he could think of better things to spend the billions of pounds on the project would cost’.
“HS2 has blighted many parts of our district and still will until the property they purchased is returned for productive use. The abandonment of the eastern leg of HS2 removes the threat of future physical disruption for businesses and residents and BDC is pleased about that. Other areas may be disappointed but as Council Leader my concerns are for the residents of Bolsover District. There were no mitigating factors by way of benefits to offset the disruption at all.
“The proposed rail plan should and could benefit areas within the District – the Robin Hood Line extension and passenger use of the ‘Maid Marion’ line for Pinxton. Branch lines would really benefit some areas, not only in our district but throughout Great Britain too (a reversal of the Beeching Cuts of the 60’s) and help reduce the amount of pollution and congestion on today’s roads.
“The government are now saying that the revised HS2 plan is actually better than the original and I’m sure others will make political capital out of that too (it wasn’t very well thought through was it).
“In future any major infrastructure project should be well thought out and have recognisable and substantial benefits. A lot of unnecessary public expenditure has been spent on supporting rail since its privatisation last century and we should all learn from this.”
Cabinet Member with responsibility for the HS2 project, Councillor Deborah Watson, echoed these comments. “For the past few years people’s lives have been turned upside down and they have been subjected to a lot of unnecessary worry. We have seen some businesses move away from our District, we have seen buildings and homes bought up by HS2 and many more residents’ homes under threat – but now it appears that upheaval has been for nothing”
“Our residents deserve better. They deserve to have a transport infrastructure that allows them to access employment and leisure opportunities, one that works for them, and one which brings forward economic prosperity for our local areas too, not just the big cities. We are hopeful now, that as promised in the IRP, future plans for local transport services will rightly be made alongside, and integrated with, plans for long distance services”