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Nottingham Post
Nottingham Post
Oliver Pridmore

HS2 uncertainty 'devastating' amid empty houses on Long Eaton street

People living on a Long Eaton road where houses could have been demolished to make way for HS2 say uncertainty around the project has been "devastating." The first HS2 trains are expected to start carrying passengers between London and Birmingham in 2029 at the earliest, with estimates the cost of the whole project will eventually reach £71 billion.

The London to Birmingham route represents the first phase of HS2, whilst the second sees the route splitting off into a Y shape. Trains will head towards East Midlands Parkway on the eastern leg and then to Crewe and eventually Manchester on the other.

The East Midlands Parkway plan came out in 2021's integrated rail review and was a change to previous plans which would have seen a station at Toton acting as a HS2 hub. The Toton plans would have seen around 70 Bonsall Street properties being demolished to create a viaduct.

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Although the Toton plans changed, a new main rail network station will still be built there. But despite the Government repeating its commitment to HS2's place in the East Midlands, there have been several reports that this section of the project could eventually be scrapped.

Those living on Bonsall Street say several people have already sold their homes due to the uncertainty which is still affecting them. David Smith, 45, has lived on the road for almost 20 years.

The software engineer said: "It is frustrating. I am hoping it's going to end. My house is a semi detached house, three bed, I am comfortable here.

"I would be forced out of my home. I'm not going to resell because Long Eaton is cheap, I wouldn't get a house like this. Just having a load of empty houses isn’t good for the community. It's devastating, a lot of properties here are empty."

Bonsall Street resident David Smith. (Lana Adkin/Nottingham Post)

In terms of his thoughts on the wider HS2 project, Mr Smith added: "HS2 is trying to solve a problem in the travel service, but the underlying issue is people can't afford to live in London. Rather than doing something about the cost of living in the country, they are trying to turn the Midlands into a commuter belt for London.

"I don't really believe it's good for the environment to build HS2. It's designed to benefit London rather than the Midlands."

Helen Bagnall, 65, moved to the street six years ago amid the HS2 limbo. She told Nottinghamshire Live, she never planned to move out of her property despite not knowing what would happen to it.

Speaking about the empty properties on the street, she said: "They're supposed to be renting them out. They haven't been touched for two years.

"It's not good. I wasn't going to move anyway. I like living here, it's near my family, town and work.

"It's a good street, it's a nice street. No trouble and never any problems. I've been here for six years. I moved here in the middle of it all. It's not good having vacant properties around."

Jane Shields, has lived on the street for 12 years. The 83-year-old said: "We were left in limbo. There were people down here that did sell up. At the moment we don't know if we're being left, nobody has told us anything. We still don't know anything other than when we went to the meetings."

A general view of Bonsall Street in Long Eaton, Derbyshire. (Joseph Raynor/Nottingham Post)

Calls for further clarity on HS2 have come from leading politicians and business figures in Nottinghamshire, including Chris Hobson from the East Midlands Chamber. Mr Hobson has called for a dedicated bill for the HS2 of eastern leg to progress through Parliament as soon as possible.

But Conservative MP for Erewash, Maggie Throup, now says clarity needs to be given to the residents of Bonsall Street in particular. She said: "The revisions made to HS2 since the publication of the Integrated Rail Review in autumn 2021 have, understandable, left those homeowners blighted by the original line of route with more questions than answers.

"Regardless of the fate of Phase 2b north of the proposed new Hub at East Midlands Parkway, it is vital that compensation remains available for those residents living in Long Eaton, Sandiacre and Stanton Gate who continue to be blighted by the shadow of HS2. To this end, I am pursuing the case with Ministers at the Department for Transport and continue to offer my full support to constituents who are affected."

The Department for Transport says a full package of compensation is available to property owners who are affected by HS2. The department says a balance needs to be struck between compensating people fairly whilst protecting taxpayers' money.

A Department for Transport spokesperson added: "The Government remains committed to delivering HS2 to the East Midlands and to exploring the most effective way to run HS2 trains to Leeds. It's important we safeguard properties until final decisions are taken."

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