Scores of families in Derbyshire could be finding out for the first time that their home will be demolished to make way for a high-speed rail line.
In 2013, homeowners in historic former railway worker housing near Trent Lane, Long Eaton, were only made aware of the risk posed to their properties from the proposed HS2 line when TV crews arrived on their doorstep.
Yesterday, HS2 Ltd, the company behind the multi-billion pound scheme to build a high speed rail route to reduce journey times in the region, released new details about the impact of the route through Long Eaton.
It revealed that, in total, 183 houses in Long Eaton and Ratcliffe-on-Soar area will be demolished.
The vast majority of these are linked to an up-to-19-metre tall viaduct – now two metres taller than originally planned – which will run through Long Eaton, north across the junction with Station Road.
Construction of this viaduct will see homes, business properties and community centres demolished, with a significant impact to residents’ mental health and livelihood, says a Working Draft Environmental Statement.
Construction work is due to take place in the Long Eaton area from 2025 to 2033.
Building the viaduct will see the demolition of 150 residential properties on Bonsall Street, Bonsall Court, Station Road, New Tythe Street, Thornfield Square, Main Street and Meadow Lane in Long Eaton.
HS2 says “the permanent loss of these properties would result in a major adverse effect which would be significant” and would lead to the “erosion of social networks”.
The report states that although 54 and 56 New Tythe Street are listed buildings, they are of low value.
It says “They have evidential and historic value as surviving domestic structures of the 18th century. Although significantly altered, they retain physical evidence from this period and provide evidence for the growth of the town at the start of its industrial expansion”. However, they will be demolished.
In addition, the fate of the historic Trent Lane properties, including the former Station House, built for the stationmaster, has been sealed.
They are among 23 houses in Newbery Avenue and off Trent Lane which will be demolished.
HS2 says that “the surviving buildings retain historic interest as part of the railway network which played a key role in the development of the town,” however, “the buildings lie within the land required for the Proposed Scheme and would be demolished”.
It states that they are “non-designated buildings of low value”.
The report states that this would “constitute a high adverse impact and a moderate adverse effect”.
Further homes will also be demolished in Sandiacre and Stapleford due to bridgeworks at the junction with the A52 Brian Clough Way and Bessell Lane.
Homes would be knocked down in Bessell Lane, the B5010 Derby Road, Station Road and Rutland Grove.
Cllr James Dawson, Labour group leader on Erewash Borough Council, said that the revelation that 183 houses will be demolished is the first time that a figure has been placed on the number of homes to be knocked down.
On top of this, compensation documents have shown that one side of the roads in Bonsall Street and New Tythe Street will be receiving payouts as a result of the scheme’s construction, but that households on the adjacent side of the road, will not receive anything.
He also said that no light had been shed on whether those who rent their properties would receive any compensation for the house they live in being demolished, or whether this would purely go to the landlord.
Cllr Dawson said that those planning the route should walk a mile in the shoes of the families who will have their homes demolished, before making any decisions.
He said: “It is the uncertainty for these homeowners that is the issue here. The lack of a decision on when construction will start, and when these families will have to move out, is not a way in which people can live.
“They cannot live with a sword hanging over their head, waiting for it to drop.
“The legislation has not been put through Parliament yet so there is no end to the uncertainty for these people.
“I have to ask, do they care about the community that they are going to be affecting? This isn’t the way to treat local communities.
“I do expect the council to do something to ensure that the businesses which will be demolished, have somewhere else to relocate to.
“But the only major inward investment site we have is Stanton and that is just for housing at this stage.”
Councillor Carol Hart, Leader of Erewash Borough Council (who is also a cabinet member for Derbyshire County Council), said: “Firstly, let me say that our concerns are with all those most affected by HS2 Ltd.’s proposals in Long Eaton and will try to ensure that local people are dealt with fairly.
“Erewash Borough Council has worked tirelessly, and will continue to do so, to ensure that we maximize the economic generation opportunities arising from
HS2 and to get the best possible outcome for residents and businesses.
“There is no doubt that there is likely to be considerable disruption when such a major project is under way, particularly in the pre-construction and construction phases.
“A number of concerns have been raised within the HS2 report and the council will take time to address each of these issues in turn and develop plans
to lessen the impact on those residents and businesses most affected.
“The council’s commitment is further evidenced by the motion carried by members at the Ordinary Meeting of Erewash Borough Council on Thursday 28 June 2018: ‘This council is deeply concerned that the proposed HS2 route will have a significant detrimental impact on residents and businesses in Long Eaton and surrounding areas and will continue to seek the best possible package of mitigation and compensation from Government through the proposed Hybrid Bill and from HS2 Ltd and other organisations.’”
Stop HS2 Campaign Manager Joe Rukin said: “With costs everywhere else along the HS2 route spiralling out of control, it is absolutely clear HS2 Ltd have gone for the most destructive, least cost option.”
Looking at the national picture for the new HS2 routes, he said: “The only reason anyone would ever decide to go through over 500 homes and over 500 businesses, along with 19 ancient woodlands and 12 sites of special scientific interest is because they don’t care about people, jobs or the environment, they only care about getting the costs down.”
Leonie Dubois, HS2’s head of consultation and engagement, said that the East Midlands will be reaping “significant benefits” associated with the scheme.
She said: “High speed rail will play a crucial role in rebalancing Britain’s economy; driving business growth, stimulating investment and creating jobs right across the country.
“Through the public consultations, we are providing a more detailed account of how we propose to build the railway and minimise its impacts during construction and operation. We actively encourage people to have their say on the plans we have published today.”
A drop-in event for the Long Eaton works is being held at West Park Leisure Centre in Wilsthorpe Road from 2pm until 8pm on Friday, December 7.
Eddie Bisknell , Local Democracy Reporting Service