HS2

On Wednesday 19th December 2018, I submitted the following response to the public consultation on the working draft Environmental Statement for Phase 2b of HS2:

It is clear that Erewash, and particular Long Eaton, Sandiacre and Stanton Gate, is set to be the area most impacted by both the construction and operation of HS2. It is therefore vital that every effort is made by HS2 Ltd., to mitigate the disruption caused to residents and businesses living and operating along the line of route.    

Having considered the working draft Environmental Statement and listened to the views of my Constituents, most recently during the HS2 engagement event held on Friday 7th December 2018 at West Park Leisure Centre, Long Eaton, I want to make the following comments covering three key areas:

Construction Compounds

The proposed Meadow Lane construction compound has the potential to significantly impact the day-to-day lives of residents living on and around Newbery Avenue and Owen Avenue during the construction phase of the project.

Consideration must therefore be given to the location of the construction compound and every effort must be made by HS2 Ltd. to minimise the disruption caused to residents.

If there is absolutely no alternative location for this compound, in my view HS2 Ltd. must:

  • Limit the hours during which the construction compound is operational
  • Work with Network Rail and Derbyshire County Council to ensure that traffic can continue to flow along Meadow Lane, Newbery Avenue and Owen Avenue, taking into account the barrier downtime of the existing level-crossing
  • Compensate residents in full for the inconvenience caused by this temporary structure.

In addition, given the location of the construction compound located at Stanton Gate, every effort must be made to minimise the impact of this temporary structure on the surrounding rural landscape.

Once construction is complete, both sites should then be sympathetically restored, and the remaining electricity sub-station at Stanton Gate should be obscured by mature vegetation to negate the visual impact it would otherwise have.

Viaduct Design

If HS2 Ltd. and the Department for Transport is to proceed with their preferred option of a high-level viaduct, the design and materials used must reflect the industrial heritage of the area.

The viaduct will dominate the visual landscape across Long Eaton, Sandiacre and Stanton Gate and so HS2 Ltd. has a duty to work with the community and Local Authorities to get the design right for our towns.

Designers must address the following:

  • Concerns from residents living close to the viaduct about the impact the viaduct will have on their properties both visually and structurally
  • Concerns about vehicle and pedestrian access underneath the viaduct and how this will link in with the existing road network to ensure traffic follow, particularly around Long Eaton, is not disrupted.
  • How the void space underneath the viaduct can best be utilised for industrial and recreational purposes

Business Relocation

The working draft Statement identifies that 1,004 jobs could be displaced or possibly lost along the Ratcliffe-on-Soar to Long Eaton section of the route.

In my view, it is unacceptable for any jobs to be lost because of HS2 and this need not be the case if the process for relocating displaced business is manged professionally.  

Because of the unique nature of the upholstery industry within Long Eaton, displaced manufacturers must be relocated within the NG10 postcode and their highly skilled workforce, many of whom live alongside their current factories, must be able access any new premises with ease. 

It is therefore incumbent on both HS2 Ltd. and the Department for Transport to use their discretionary powers of compulsory purchase ahead of Royal Assent, to allow manufactures to account for this in their forward business planning and allowing for a smooth transition from one location to a new one.

Where this is not possible, it is vital that HS2 Ltd. relocate displaced businesses at the earliest opportunity once funds are released following Royal Asset.

This also applies to those businesses not allied to the upholstery industry but who rely on a very local and dedicated workforce. Long Eaton is very much a working town, with residents walking and cycling to work and this must be respected.

Finally, I fully appreciate that the remit of HS2 Ltd. is strictly limited in law to the construction, delivery and operation of the route and hub station.

It is therefore incumbent on both Erewash Borough Council and Derbyshire County Council to use their own significant statutory powers to prepare our area for the arrival of HS2.

In my view, Erewash Borough Council and Derbyshire County Council urgently need to step up their respective plans to mitigate the impact of HS2 and engage fully with partnering agencies such as East Midlands Councils, HS2 Ltd and the Government, to ensure that the associated infrastructure to support HS2 is in place from day one.

Serious consideration should also be given to the creation of a ‘masterplan’ for our area, to ensure we unlock the potential social and economic benefits that HS2 presents.

As a first step, this plan could include proposals by the Borough and County Councils, through the new HS2 Development Corporation, to identify, purchase and then develop parcels of land within the immediate area to relocate displace residents and businesses.