Council asks for the controversial HS2 train line to be moved to save Derbyshire homes being demolished
Erewash Borough Council has asked HS2 to re-route the multi-billion pound rail line to save 41 houses.
The authority has put together a sharp response to HS2 Ltd’s consultation on Phase 2b of the scheme, which runs through Erewash to the proposed East Midlands Hub at Toton.
It states that HS2 Ltd has underestimated the impact of the route through Erewash.
This includes “inadequate consideration of the impact on the townscape and economy of Long Eaton” along with the effects of vibration from drilling and air, noise and health issues – described as “significant” and “major adverse”.
It also says that the current scheme “would result in direct harm to council finances in the medium term from lost council tax and business rates from demolished properties”.
It fears that Long Eaton will be brought to a standstill as a result of road works – particularly in Nottingham Road to enable reconstruction of its bridge over the low-level train line
The borough council has repeated a proposal to build a new high level link to the Midland Mainline in Derby. This would avoid Network Rail having to channel extra traffic onto the low-level line through Long Eaton which could cause the town’s two level crossings to be closed permanently.
It was the risk of the crossings in Station Road and Main Street being closed – and cutting Long Eaton in two – which saw plans for an HS2 viaduct pushed forward instead of using the current train line.
But the council has asked that the viaduct is realigned to save 41 homes in Bonsall Street from demolition.
It says this could be achieved if the current low-level train line is closed and rerouted, meaning that the existing route could be built on – instead over the top of the houses.
Councillor Carol Hart, leader of Erewash Borough Council, has previously said that it would be better if the government pulled the plug on HS2, but conceded that she did not think that this was not going to happen.
She says that the council is “not big enough” to stop the scheme and should focus on limiting its negative impacts.
Cllr Hart, who is also a Derbyshire County Council cabinet member, said: “Our priority has always been to work to get the best and fairest deal for those most affected by HS2 and we remain committed to doing just that.
“I can assure residents that this council is working tirelessly to address all the serious issues that the HS2 project brings and this mitigation plan is a forthright message to HS2 that we are fighting for, and want, the best possible deal for our communities here in Erewash.
“Much hard work has already been carried out by this council on behalf of our residents and businesses.
“Now we are setting out, in very clear and thorough terms, just what our concerns are and what we want to see happen to reduce the impact.”
The authority has also presented details of how long construction would take place for in Erewash, and how many jobs construction would support.
Work in the Trent Valley – which would see portions of a viaduct built in the River Trent – would take three years and nine months and employ 90 people.
In Long Eaton, it would take four years and three months and employ 550 workers. This part of the leg would include a 23-metre tall viaduct through the town – the viaduct itself will stand at 19 metres with a four-metre tall sound barrier fixed to the top through residential areas.
In total, 183 houses would be demolished to make way for the route to Toton, along with more than 50 businesses.
The borough council says that 750 jobs will be put at risk as a result of planned demolitions.
Meanwhile, in Sandiacre Meadows, construction would take four years six months and employ 515 works.
Here, to enable both the Stanton Gate Viaduct and the M1 to share the current M1 corridor through Trowell, a 2.1km stretch of the M1 would be re-aligned up to 90m to the north-west, from the Erewash Valley Golf Club to Trowell Sewage Works.
The re-aligned motorway would be on an embankment, as is the current stretch of motorway and would require five new underbridges – one each for Ilkeston Road, the Erewash Canal, Stanton Branch Line, Erewash Valley Line and the River Erewash.
Much of this building work will overlap, taking eight years of 24/7 construction – 2025 to 2033 – to complete.
The borough council has asked that homeowners on the east of Bonsall Street and New Tythe Street in Long Eaton are compensated – which is not currently the case.
As it stands, these homeowners – despite living a matter of metres from the proposed viaduct – would not receive any money due to being placed outside of the assigned safeguarded zone.
The authority says that each homeowner would be given the option of taking the compulsory purchase price from HS2 – believed to be 80 per cent of the value of the house – or be given £30,000 compensation for the disruption of construction.
The borough council has also asked for road access to the Toton hub from Long Eaton.
This is currently not available and would lead to residents making a 5km journey to the station, which would be just 1km from their homes.
After the authority lobbied for access in 2014, HS2 added a footpath and cycleway route to the site.
It said in response to these changes that “this is insufficient to provide the benefits the town needs to mitigate the permanent harm it will suffer from HS2”.
Alongside this it has requested improvements to Long Eaton Green to promote more cycling and walking – this plan could include a new bridge over the canal from Britannia Road.
It has also asked that the former Stadium Industrial Estate in Long Eaton is acquired to build housing for those displaced by HS2.
In line with this, the authority has requested that the upper floors of the Victorian lace mills are refurbished to relocate upholstery businesses which will be left homeless as part of the high-speed rail scheme.
Finally, the borough council has also asked that when the proposed construction compound on Forbes Park is vacated, it is redeveloped for displaced businesses and that the Stanton Gate main construction compound should be restored back to a bio-diverse meadow.
Alongside this, it says that space for businesses should be built underneath and between the arches of the proposed viaduct.
The authority will debate these proposals at full council on Thursday, December 13 from 7pm.
Before then, they will also be discussed by the council executive on Tuesday, December 4 from 10.30am.
Eddie Bisknell , Local Democracy Reporting Service