Wakefield: Call for debate on transport as HS2 opposed

How HS2 will look.
How HS2 will look.
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Wakefield councillors yesterday called for HS2 to be scrapped and for alternative high speed rail plans to be considered.

Council leader Peter Box said it was time for a much wider debate over the future of transport in the region including spending on roads and the potential casefor a new airport.

Coun Box said: “What Wakefield wants to do is to campaign for what we need and not what we have been given.

“What we need is greater connectivity. We need investment in our highways network to go alongside improving rail, including east-west links, and we need investment in a new airport.”

He pointed to an alternative plan, known as High Speed UK, as an example of how high speed rail could be built in a different way and improve connections between more towns and cities.

High Speed UK, devised by rail engineers and backed by the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, would follow the M1 corridor with one spur heading west from Leeds across the Pennines to Manchester and a further heading north to Scotland.

Wakefield councillors yesterday voted to oppose HS2 which will pass through the district and stop at a new station in Leeds.

The Government is pressing ahead with HS2 with work due to start on the first phase between London and Birmingham in 2017 and the project has the support of Leeds City Council and the city’s business community.

Mark Goldstone, head of policy at the Leeds Chamber of Commerce, said: “HS2 must be viewed as part of a wider integrated transport network for the Leeds City Region and we need to be thinking now about how each part of the region benefits from the increased capacity it will provide.

“There is little point being able to get into and out of Leeds city centre more efficiently by HS2 if there is poor connectivity onwards to Bradford, Wakefield or Huddersfield for example.”

He said the Chamber was hopeful planned spending on transport by West Yorkshire councils would address these issues.

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