Councillors criticise HS2 after Derbyshire residents given 10 weeks to read 11,000 pages about route

Computer-generated visuals of a high speed train. HS2. For editorial usage only.
Computer-generated visuals of a high speed train. HS2. For editorial usage only.

Derbyshire council leaders have slammed a decision which left the public with just 10 weeks to read through 11,000 pages of documents if they wanted to comment on HS2 plans.

At a meeting of Derbyshire County Council’s cabinet, Conservative councillors raised concerns about the ‘inadequacy’ of HS2’s information, which they felt was rife with incorrect details.

Councillors  also felt that asking members of the public to read through so much complex information in such a short time was not possible.

Councillor Carol Hart, who is a cabinet member and also leader of Erewash Borough Council said the proposals were ‘totally unacceptable’.

“They are even alienating people who are for it,” she added. Coun Hart also commented that the task given to the council, to assess 11,000 pages in 10 weeks, was ‘ridiculous’.

Meanwhile, deputy leader Councillor Simon Spencer, said the council’s response to HS2, giving its views on the Phase 2b consultation, ‘highlighted the inadequacy of the overall process’.

He said: “It is a controversial project and this is exacerbated by factually inaccurate information. HS2 needs to take this seriously, because we don’t want to proceed with the process of appealing the facts [of the project] as it passes through Parliament.”

Coun Spencer, the cabinet member for highways, transport and infrastructure and joint chair of the East Midlands HS2 Mitigation Board, said that what was a tough task for council officers, to read through all of the HS2 documentation, would not be possible for members of the public.

Council leader, Councillor Barry Lewis, said: “If HS2 want public goodwill to remain being there, it needs to start listening.”

In its response, the authority raises concerns over the ‘lack’ of information regarding economic and traffic impacts. The report continues: “It is imperative that Derbyshire is perceived, and remains ‘open for business’ during the construction period and that all efforts are made to mitigate the disruption.”