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High speed rail ‘would destroy historical sites’ say village campaigners

Paul Dainton, who says the HS2 railway line could destroy some of the areas heritage.

Paul Dainton, who says the HS2 railway line could destroy some of the areas heritage.

A high speed railway line could destroy prehistoric heritage sites, campaigners have warned.

Environmental campaigner Paul Dainton has battled plans to turn the former Newland Hall site, in Altofts, Wakefield, into a waste tip for about 30 years.

And he said the HS2 route, announced last week, would cut right through the site, which was once a medieval priory used by the Knights Hospitallers, a Christian military order.

He said the prehistoric Altofts henge site was also at risk.

Mr Dainton, of Residents Against Toxic Scheme (RATS), said: “We’ve put years of effort and thousands of pounds into protecting this area, and now out of nowhere we’ve got a railway line coming through that will be horrific for the landscape and destroy greenbelt land.

“It’s also one of the most walked areas in Wakefield, and the nearby wetlands are a haven for wildlife. The henge could be anything from a grave mound to a Roman fortification.

“The fact the line would cut right through the area is just unbelievable. I’ve literally devoted most of my life to this area, so it’s a devastating proposal.”

The £33bn HS2 would allow passengers to travel from Leeds to London in 80 minutes.

 

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