Jon Trickett

Hemsworth Labour

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Finally I have been able to meet with Minister Paul Maynard to discuss HS2(2b) and raise my constituents concerns about the impact the M18 Eastern will have to our area.  Yesterday afternoon I together with Toby White, as a representative from a local business, and members of the Crofton Against HS2 Group, finally had an opportunity to raise some of the major concerns around the HS2 route and its impact on our area. The Minster changed our appointment at the last minute and we all thought the meeting wouldn’t take place, but I am pleased to say that it did and we all got to have our say, there are clearly lots more to discuss, but we didn’t leave without feeling that we had impressed upon the minister that there was a lot more to be done.

Ultimately, we demanded of the Minister that the best thing to happen is to change the route. Hundreds more people in our area will suffer from the current planned route. That is my number one priority when speaking with Maynard. 

I make no bones about my belief the chosen route is unfair, the consultation that the Department of Transport consulted on the route that did not include the 2014/2015 realignment! So when we all responded to the consultation November 2016 to March 2017, little did we know that people weren’t given the right information to respond to! The entire consultation now looks like a sham. We have been promised an answer on this quickly. I will update everyone as soon as possible when we are given this.

We asked the Minister about the potential parkway and I was flabbergasted that the Minister could not provide any certainty to if the parkway station will be in our area or not. A Parkway station will add even more misery to our area should they decide to build one in the constituency. The roads are too rural and narrow a fact HS2 seem to constantly ignore. The Parkway will be like a massive car park for thousands of cars, specifically designed for commuter’s to access the rail links to Sheffield or Leeds. There will be no benefit what so evert to our area.

We raised concerns about stopping the horrible levels of noise pollution that would come from such a monstrous line. HS2’s tender documents imply there isn’t anything to be done about bringing down the levels of noise people in our area will be subjected to.

There have been lots of inconsistencies around HS2’s assessment to how many demolitions there will need to be and how many households will be affected. There seems to just as much misinformation on this issue along the whole HS2 route not just our area.

All of this makes me lose confidence in HS2 Ltd. They’re a terribly-run body, who seem to spend money like water while helping nobody at all. The Higgins Report – another thing we discussed in the meeting – was an example of this. It was rushed, harmful and misleading.  As I said before, the route consulted on was not the one published, and HS2 appear to be constantly going back to routes already ruled out by Higgins in the past what a shambles. They’ve avoided releasing information about known mining areas when asked – even when we’ve submitted FOI requests.  The M18 eastern route does not avoid known mining areas as they claim, our area is peppered with former mining sites something HS2 ltd seem to ignore. There were also lots of concerns about the surveying being done by MP’s in the Manchester area.  Many of you will have heard the concerns raised in the House of Commons last week when HS2 came up in the debate last week!

On all of the above points, we have been promised answers by the Minister as soon as possible. We need him to take responsibility for these issues and give us resolutions to these problems. Paul Maynard seemed to share a sense of frustration too and he has been very vocal about this, if the tabloids and social media are to believed. He has said that he would try to improve communication with the HS2 ltd. We’ve heard that before though, so it will be refreshing to see if anything actually happens especially as HS2 Ltd engagement officers cancelled an important meeting with the Action Group the day they were due to meet!

He has also said he will get advice on the possibility of tunnelling. We reiterated the point that the North is being treated worse than the South on this issue. 24% of HS1 is tunnel, 29% on HS2 phase 1, 21% Phase 2 Western Leg but only 2% on the Eastern Leg of Phase 2. Others get it and we don’t, even though our area is just as (if not more) beautiful!

For local businesses too, the outcome of the consultation on the site of the depot must be released quickly. There are lots of businesses we would lose if HS2 came right through our patch. This is just one where we’d lose the positive impact of it. We need good jobs round here that pay well. HS2 is threatening that for us. While the July announcement looks like the depot is likely to move to Leeds, we need that certainty. This has been going on for far too long now, and I will make sure there are no delays after that consultation has closed.

 

HS2 Phase 2B - our meeting with the Minister

Finally I have been able to meet with Minister Paul Maynard to discuss HS2(2b) and raise my constituents concerns about the impact the M18 Eastern will have to our area.  Yesterday...

As everyone knows, I’ve been against the HS2 route through our area from day one.

HS2 Ltd has made a lot of mistakes, and people across the country who are affected need answers quickly.

The debate in parliament about the HS2 route, which I attended yesterday, showed that the concerns we have here in our area are also shared by MPs from lots of different areas and parties.

In the debate the Government was criticised for the amount of money spent on the project so far, the terrible engagement and consultation with people affected by the route, concerns about the engineering of the project, and dismay about why some areas have been offered tunnelling but others not.

Others raised big concerns about the environmental impact of this huge trainline. Round here, historic woodlands like Howell Woods and the heritage of the Iron Age camp near South Kirkby will be destroyed. I was shocked to hear just how many others have similar problems.

It is always moving to hear about the disruption of people's lives. During the debate we heard about how HS2 Ltd spent years being vague about their plans for the route, which has meant people weren’t able to plan for their futures. People have been unable to sell houses, have not been guaranteed compensation to move somewhere maintaining their quality of life, and have been ignored by HS2 Ltd when trying to get answers.

This struck a chord with me – HS2 Ltd have always been slow at getting back to us. They’ve not responded properly to Freedom of Information Requests from the Crofton Against HS2 campaign group or from residents either. And it has taken me months to get a meeting in the Minister’s diary to raise these concerns.

The compensation plans are just as bad. Kevin Barron, who is the MP for Rother Valley, spoke about how thousands of houses on a housing estate will be affected, but HS2 Ltd won’t acknowledge this, and won’t compensate them appropriately.

The debate also rose concerns about the gross underestimate of how many other people along the Rother Valley area that will have a train line right outside their windows.

Those living along the Meadowhall route have been prevented from selling their houses and many will not be able to access compensation at all for the disruption this has caused them over the past several years, even though HS2 isn’t proceeding with that route.

Paul Maynard MP, the Minister overseeing the HS2 project, said at the end of the debate that he will take the time to consider all of these concerns. I’m glad they’ve had a chance to be raised, and will demand answers when I have a meeting with him next week. I will provide another update after the meeting, and let you know how the Minister addresses all of these points for people from our patch.

HS2 Phase 2B Westminster Hall debate

As everyone knows, I’ve been against the HS2 route through our area from day one. HS2 Ltd has made a lot of mistakes, and people across the country who are...

I represent twenty-three towns and villages in my constituency. These communities, mostly rural, have different identities and traditions but many have been left behind when it comes to the local services we all rely on.

You might have had your local bank closed in the past few years – whether that be Yorkshire Bank in Featherstone, HSBC in Hemsworth, Barclays in South Elmsall, or another.

What’s more, the remaining branches have reduced opening hours. Many local people are rightly worried about the loss of their local bank services, which is why I met with a number of the banks to voice their concerns and demand assurances that our rural communities would not be left behind.

We were told that most banking transactions can now be carried out at local post offices, so there would be no real loss to our communities. It’s now clear, however, that more and more of our post offices face closure in the coming years. I have been contacted by Postmasters in my constituency who have explained their branches could close due to the ongoing changes within the Post Office Company. Falling business and the Post Office Company’s push to increase profitability mean that Postmasters are being put under increased pressure.

This could lead to our rural communities being left without any permanent banking or post office services. The nearest service would then involve travelling to either Wakefield, Pontefract or Barnsley. To add insult to injury, due to the cuts to bus subsidies from Central Government, we have suffered from a marked reduction in bus services. This is making it more difficult for local people to travel to neighbouring towns and villages. One woman I met told me that because of a lack of bus services she has to walk over a mile on country roads in the dark to get to work on a morning.

With the loss of our banks, potential closure of post offices and reduction of buses, people from round here are being left without access to basic local services. Private companies are putting profit before people and letting our communities down.

I stood on a manifesto where we pledged to change the law so that banks can’t close a branch where there is a clear local need. They must put communities first. That manifesto included ending the closure of Crown Post Office branches too.

Banks, Post Offices and Buses - losing our local services

I represent twenty-three towns and villages in my constituency. These communities, mostly rural, have different identities and traditions but many have been left behind when it comes to the local...


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