Feb 2nd 2018 : Morley Town Hall - having spent 18 months attempting to meet with Chris Grayling Transport Secretary via official channels to no avail, we ambushed him by buying a £25 ticket to attend a Conservative Dinner where was speaking. We Presented this letter to him, telling him that the two junior ministers we had met and informed of the HS2 Data scandal had left office soon after. Chris Grayling now knows that the M18 Eastern Route was chosen on the basis of false information and must now act of be part of this scandal himself.
Right Honourable Chris Grayling
Secretary of State for Transport
February 2nd 2018
Dear Mr Grayling
Re: HS2 Data Scandal
I am formally giving you this document on behalf of the residents of Crofton & The Crofton HS2 Action Group. We have provided this information to two of your Junior Transport Ministers on two occasions in 2017 : 8th February 2017 in the House of Commons with Andrew Jones MP and Jon Trickett MP and then September 12th 2017 at Portcullis House with Paul Maynard MP and Jon Trickett MP. The first meeting took place within the Public Consultation Period for the Phase 2B M18 Route Decision, the second after that decision had been made.
At both of those meetings we told the Ministers that HS2 Limited had misinformed the Department for Transport and yourself as Secretary of State for Transport on the number of property impacts on the M18 Eastern Route in comparison with the Meadowhall Route. HS2 Limited claimed that there were an estimated 1,000 residential properties within 100 metres of the track for the Meadowhall Route compared to a 40% lower 600 residential properties on the M18 Eastern Route.
Independent Analysis of the published HS2 Ltd plans draw up by Mott McDonald shows however that the exact number of residential properties on the M18 Eastern Route to be 445. The same process was carried out for the published Mott McDonald plans of the Publicly Consulted Meadowhall Route of 2013 and FOI obtained copies of the unpublished Refined Meadowhall Route of 2016.
The Number of Residential properties measured to within 100 metres on these two routes are 296 properties and 341.
Therefore the claims contained in the 2016 South Yorkshire Report and the 2017 HS2 Advice to Ministers is based on false information. We presented these numbers to HS2 Limited in a 2.5 hour meeting in Leeds on October 19th 2017 with head of HS2 Phase 2B Engagement Leone Dubois.
In this meeting it was disclosed by Jared Brook – HS2 Environment Manager that the property count estimates provided to DFT and parliament was indicative only, not intended to be accurate and for the basis of decision making. The GIS postcode datasets used were from 2014 and not geographically accurate. New Build construction such as the Shimmer Estate in Mexborough due for partial demolition would not be included in these 600 property estimates. He admitted to everyone's astoundment that despite HS2 Ltd maps showing properties in Crofton being under earthwork embankments, the GIS data could not identify them as being demolitions!
Despite this admission HS2 Limited continue to argue this data is robust, and that they do not validate estimates against actual properties on maps to check accuracy.
Since the lower property/population impacts form part of the case for the M18 Eastern Route change from Meadowhall we consider that you have been misled by HS2 Limited.
We communicated these concerns to Andrew Jones MP and Paul Maynard MP shortly before both of them left office and have not received satisfactory responses on these issues. Indeed when we met Paul Maynard he was unaware of the written evidence provided to Andrew Jones MP or the existence of the Refined Meadowhall which was used to make the decision, rather than the publicly consulted route.
We must ask you to instruct HS2 Limited to release their datasets (as they have promised to do and not done) and to meet with us to hear further similar evidence of false or inaccurate estimates being used to justify the change – including cost evidence, projections on number of jobs created, journey times, connectivity and disclosure of information.
We have zero confidence in HS2 Limited to treat communities fairly or honestly – evidenced by HS2 Limited failing to disclose enhanced Redundancy Payments to the DFT, A complaint to the Parliamentary Ombudsman of misleading statements from a community. We hold an FOI disclosure from HS2 Limited that the M18 Eastern Route is nearly identical to the East of Rotherham Route which HS2 Limited rejected in 2011 due to connectivity and impact grounds, yet in advice to Ministers in 2017 HS2 Ltd claimed was entirely different.
We have Zero confidence in HS2 Limited making the correct decision – evidenced by your overruling of their recommendation to place the Rolling Stock Depot in New Crofton (we still await a final announcement on the move to a more suitable brownfield motorway site, they failed to identify in 2011, 2013 or 2016 when our campaign group identified in 2017) HS2 Limited vouching for the financial viability and fitness of Carillion to receive a £1.4bn JV Contract after a major profit warning, share slump & flight of Institutional investors.
As the Mott McDonald Report of 2017 for Rotherham and Doncaster Councils showed, the M18 Route would created fewer jobs and GVA for South Yorkshire than Meadowhall, and have £1.7bn higher operating costs.
NORTHERN POWERHOUSE ROUTE
We are asking the Department for Transport in conjunction with Transport for the North to make a study of the plans of High Speed UK, who proposed a low impact, high connectivity alternative route to Meadowhall and M18 Eastern Route because this route has only 2 residential demolitions and would allow access to the Woodhead corridor to connect Sheffield and Manchester for HS3 at the same time offering a faster lower impact route to the West of Barnsley linking Sheffield to Leeds. The Northern Powerhouse Rail objective of sub 30 minutes journey time between Sheffield and Manchester cannot be achieved because the HS2 route has moved to the East, whereas HSUK plans achieve faster journey times for a saving of £5.5bn
WILL OF THE PEOPLE
We would remind the Secretary of the State that if 52% of the voters on the issue of Brexit constitute the Will of the People, 94% of the respondees to the HS2 Eastern Route Public Consultation in 2017 opposed the proposition to move the Route from Meadowhall to the M18 Eastern Route.
NO TUNNEL, NO MONEY
Analysis of your HS2 plans shows that the Eastern Leg has only 2% tunnel, reduced from 5% tunnel on the Meadowhall route, compared to 31 miles of tunnel for Phase 1. This effectively makes the Eastern Leg an unmitigated route with communities in Crofton, Mexborough, Bramley, Bolsover & Hemsworth requiring tunnel if the same rules of mitigation are followed. HS2 Limited has already ruled out a tunnel at Mexborough on cost grounds.
The 2015 Strategic Review of HS2 caps costs on the Phase 2B requiring any mitigation such as expensive tunnels to be funded by contingency or value engineering elsewhere. As Dennis Skinner MP rightly identified in the House of Commons, the North is being short-changed on mitigation, we seriously doubt whether the petitioning process in the hybrid bill is fit, as HS2 Ltd can veto tunnel proposals on cost grounds, even if called for by parliament, the Secretary of State or Environmental Impact Assessment.
It is clear, that the NAO Cost reduction programme and HS2 Value Engineering programme has already stripped out tunnel cost and mitigation along the route, leaving communities like Crofton and Mexborough to live with division and noise.
We invite you to come to Crofton, to see the harm continuing blight has caused, speak to residents who have terminal illness yet are refused a house purchase by HS2 Limited, view the evidence amassed on what is a criminal fraud against our community, parliament and the taxpayer and hear the will of the people that Crofton is not a safe place to put this railway.
Our Question to you is, now you know you have been misled by HS2 Limited to add to previous occasions such as the unauthorised redundancy payments will you be content to allow a flawed decision not to be reviewed ?
Business Owner in Batley
Resident in Crofton
Chair of Crofton HS2 Action Group
Campaign Steps up gear after HS2 Contractor Carillion collapse shows how HS2 Limited has not carried out due diligence on failing megaproject. We now await an announcement from new HS2 Minister Nus Ghani on whether the New Crofton Rolling Stock Depot is actually going to move to the Brownfield Site in Leeds. It has been 16 months since in August 2016 that Chris Grayling came to Crofton in secret to view the depot site and instructed HS2 Limited to carry out a study for an alternate location. This unnecessary period of blight has damaged vital economic development projects in Crofton such as the Cooperative Mine Project which would have seen millions of pounds ploughed back into the community but now looks in jeopardy because of HS2. We continue to expose HS2 lies - showing that HS2 Limited lied about the number of properties affected, the economic benefits and the true construction costs of the new M18 Route. We back Labour Shadow Transport Secretary in his support of the Times Newspaper's call for Chris Grayling Transport Secretary to resign. The HS2 project is unravelling by the day, but contractrors and HS2 limited continue to rush forward with plans attempting to bully communities and lying at every step. We highlight that a Second HS2 Contractor Skanska has issued a profit warning and may become a second Carillion.
STATEMENT BY CROFTON AGAINST HS2 11th September 2017 Cedar Court Wakefield
IN THE LIGHT OF THE DECISION 4 DAYS AGO FROM HS2 LIMITED TO CANCEL OUR MEETING WITH THEM AND FOLLOWING LEGAL ADVICE ON THIS DISCLOSED ADVICE TO MINISTERS WE ARE ISSUING THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT:
“ WE ARE ADVISED BY LEGAL COUNSEL THAT THE ROUTE DECISION ON JULY 17TH IS UNLAWFUL. IT IS ILLEGAL BECAUSE IT HAS NOW BEEN DISCLOSED BY HS2 LIMITED THAT CONTRARY TO STATEMENTS IN PARLIAMENT AND IN THE SOUTH YORKSHIRE REPORT FROM LAST YEAR THAT THE DECISION WAS BASED NOT ON THE PREVIOUSLY CONSULTED ROUTE BUT ON A ENTIRELY CHANGED REFINED ROUTE KEPT SECRET FROM OUR COMMUNITY FOR THREE YEARS. FURTHERMORE ANALYSIS OF THAT ROUTE HAS FURTHER REVEALED FROM OUR TRANSPORT ADVISERS THAT THIS ROUTE HAD BEEN CHANGED IN SECRET IN 2014 IN ORDER TO SAVE £200 MILLION FROM THE CONSULTED MEADOWHALL ROUTE BY SCRAPPING TUNNELS AND VIADUCTS NORTH OF SHEFFIELD. THEREFORE WHEN HS2 LIMITED CHAIRMAN SIR DAVID HIGGINS TOLD PARLIAMENT AND THE COMMUNITIES THAT A ROUTE CHANGE WAS NEEDED, THIS WAS IN THE KNOWLEDGE THAT FUNDS ALREADY EXISTED FROM THE SECRET ROUTE TO FUND A TWO STATION SOLUTION IN SHEFFIELD. THIS SOLUTION WE IDENTIFIED IN A MEETING WITH HS2 LIMITED IN NOVEMBER LAST YEAR AND THEY ADMITTED HAD BEEN OVERLOOKED, THIS SOLUTION WAS GIVEN TO THE THEN TRANSPORT MINISTER ANDREW JONES IN FEBRUARY BEFORE THE GENERAL ELECTION WHO PROMISED TO RESPOND TO IT.
WE ARE DEMANDING TODAY THAT THE SECRETARY OF STATE IMMEDIATELY SUSPEND THE ROUTE DECISION AND SACK SIR DAVID HIGGINS HS2 CHAIRMAN BECAUSE OF CLEAR ILLEGALITY AND LIES TOLD TO PARLIAMENT AND COMMUNITIES SUCH AS OURS. WE ASK FOR A JUDGE LED INQUIRY TO BE COMMISSIONED TO EXAMINE THE TRUE FACTS OF THE COSTS, IMPACTS, BENEFITS OF THE ROUTE DECISION. HOW SHEFFIELD CITY COUNCIL WAS GIVEN PRIVILEGED ACCESS TO HS2 LIMITED AND OUR COMMUNITY WAS SO NEGLEGENTLY OVERLOOKED. WE WILL BE MEETING WITH THE TRANSPORT MINISTER PAUL MAYNARD TOMMORROW IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS AND ASKING HIM TO LAUNCH AN INDEPENDENT STUDY INTO THE ROUTE ALTERNATIVES SUCH AS THE TWO STATION MEADOWHALL PLAN AND THE HS3 READY ROUTE BY OUR RAIL ADVISERS HIGH SPEED UK TO THE WEST OF THE M1 WHICH HAS BEEN PROPOSED TO THE NORTHERN RAIL SUMMIT.
TO LEARN OF THE REFINED MEADOWHALL ROUTE HAD SECRETLY REPLACED THE CONSULTED ROUTE IN 2014 AND THAT THE SAVINGS FROM THIS ROUTE HAD BEEN INCLUDED IN THE ROUTE ADVOCATED BEFORE PARLIAMENT, THAT THE DECISION HAD BEEN BASED ON THIS ROUTE CONTRARY TO THE PUBLIC CONSULTATION, THEREBY INVALIDATING IT. IT WAS A BITTER BLOW TO LEARN THAT FOR CROFTON THIS SECRET ROUTE, IDENTICAL IN THE STRETCH AFFECTING CROFTON, WITH AN ENLARGED EASTERN DEPOT AND THE INCREASED IMPACTS WOULD HAVE BEEN ADOPTED EVEN IF THE M18 EASTERN ROUTE HAD BEEN REJECTED. WE REMIND HS2 LTD REJECTED THIS ROUTE IN 2011 WHEN IT WAS FORMERLY CALLED EAST OF ROTHERHAM.
IT TURNS OUT HS2 LIMITED HAS LIED ABOUT EVERYTHING TO EVERYONE. THE CHAIRMAN SHOULD RESIGN BEFORE HE IS SACKED."
On behalf of Crofton Against HS2
Jonathan Pile Chair
HS2 now propose to move to the Rolling Stock Depot to a Brownfield Site in Leeds, next to the M62 instead of the Greenfield Site next to New Crofton, a move welcomed by Leeds City Council & local MP. Please fill in this online form by October 12th to say why you agree. https://form.jotformeu.com/72425091493356
Press Release : 21/8/17 Crofton Against HS2 Letter to John Cridland, Chair of Transport for the North on the eve of the Northern Rail Summit in Leeds on 22/8/17
Mr John Cridland
Transport for the North
4 Piccadilly Place
August 21st 2017
I am writing on behalf of the community action group of Crofton to express our grave concerns at the current HS2 proposals. Our concerns lie not only with the destructive impacts that HS2 will have on our community, but also at the huge inefficiencies that HS2 will cause in the development of ‘HS3’ links between the cities of the Northern Powerhouse. Our letter is directed to yourselves at Transport for the North as the primary authority responsible for developing transport infrastructure across the entire Northern Region.
We believe that the current combination of ill-thought out plans would for HS2 and HS3 would make the worse possible scenarios come to pass, a transport solution which doesn't offer full high speed connectivity for Sheffield and South Yorkshire, which takes resources away from vitally needed electrification and which actively works against a Cross Rail for the North. Instead of being a high speed hub, Sheffield would be bypassed by routes to better-connected Northern Cities. There is a real danger that HS2 will drain resources from HS3/Northern Powerhouse Rail with a poor route choice with high impacts, hidden costs, low connectivity and low economic benefits. There is a real danger HS2 could never be built to northern destinations other than Crewe because of the lack of a strategic approach which had the true support of communities, causing cost overruns that will lead to the cancellation of Phase 2B.
Our Community proposed a better location for the Rolling Stock Depot than New Crofton in 2017 which both the DFT and HS2 Ltd have adopted, and now we propose a better route which will enable better connectivity between Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester. The fact that such a route would have 17 times lower residential demolitions matters to us, as we don't want any community to be impacted in the harmful way that the HS2 M18 Eastern Route has affected our 6,000 strong community.
The Needs of Northern Communities
We believe that Northern Electrification and East-West Connectivity between Northern Cities are much greater priorities for Northern communities than the deeply flawed plans for HS2. These Northern links should precede HS2 which requires urgent strategic review. This is exactly what former Chancellor George Osborne has called for today (22nd August).
Impacts on people
We believe in a low impact transport network connecting Sheffield and Leeds, and the other vital cities and towns of the North. We have proposed an alternative high speed route connecting Sheffield and Leeds, with a link to Manchester via the abandoned Woodhead corridor, and with a City Centre Station at Sheffield Victoria (a location which has been consistently and wrongly ignored by HS2 Ltd. Journey times significantly superior to those offered by HS2 could be achieved with fewer residential demolitions, lower construction costs and higher economic benefits.
An Alternative Strategic Vision for the Northern Powerhouse
Our plans form part of a wider Strategic vision for the Northern Powerhouse which comes from communities so far excluded from official plans. We are deeply concerned at the current governance of Transport for the North and HS2 Ltd which has given Leeds and Sheffield absolute priority over the views and needs of Doncaster, Rotherham, Wakefield and other forgotten communities of the North.
We are supportive of the transport aims of the Northern Powerhouse, as set out in the specification for journey times between its principal centres (ie Liverpool, Manchester, Manchester Airport, Sheffield, Leeds, Hull and Newcastle) and in the requirement for city centre stations. As noted previously, our only proviso would be that the resulting HS3/Northern Powerhouse Rail system should be developed with the necessary integration so that it also serves the ‘second tier’ of rail hubs, such as Wakefield and Doncaster.
Conflicts between HS2 and HS3/Northern Powerhouse Rail
The HS3 concept has only come about because of the total inadequacy of the original HS2 ‘Y-network’, in particular its failure to provide any transpennine connection between the major cities of the North. It is fair to characterise the original HS2 as a largely isolated system – witness the initial proposal for the New Lane terminus in Leeds – whose sole priority seemed to be to achieve the swiftest possible journeys to London, rather than provide efficient links between regional cites – witness the abandoned proposal for Meadowhall station, 5km from Sheffield city centre. HS2’s ‘need for speed’ also dictated near-straight alignments which cannot easily be accommodated into an undulating landscape, and which make it impossible for HS2 to avoid communities such as Crofton that lie in its path.
We would comment that if HS2’s only priority were to connect Leeds and Sheffield to London and other cities on a general north-south axis, and if there were genuine immense value in every minute shaved off existing journey times to London, there might be some logic in the present HS2 proposals. But the advent of the Northern Powerhouse demonstrates clearly that neither proposition can be true. The HS2 scheme has now been modified so that the stations in Leeds and Sheffield are both located at the existing city centre hubs, to better integrate with developing ‘HS3’ proposals. However, the effect of abandoning the Meadowhall scheme has been to drive HS2 so far to the east that there is no possibility of integrating HS2’s north-south route with HS3’s transpennine route.
It is regrettable that rather than challenge HS2’s established routes, Transport for the North has accepted them as basic building blocks in the development of HS3/Northern Powerhouse Rail. You will hopefully appreciate the fundamental illogicality of basing a scheme intended to deliver step-change improvements in transpennine connectivity upon elements that were designed with no thought for transpennine connectivity.
Superior Performance of Alternative High Speed UK Scheme
Our concerns as to the proper and optimal development of Northern Powerhouse routes are fully confirmed by the research undertaken by High Speed UK in support of their own HSUK scheme for a national network of high speed lines. HSUK is a fully engineered scheme, with horizontal and vertical alignments prepared for the full length of its routes linking the principal centres of the Northern Powerhouse. HSUK’s designers claim that high speed rail services on their new routes will meet all the key journey time requirements, and our discussions with the designers give us confidence that their claims are fully justified.
HS2 and HS3 - Lost in the Transpennine Triangle
We would refer you particularly to the enclosed document prepared by High Speed UK (an extract from the HSUK report HS2 : High Speed to Almost Nowhere). This describes a sequential process by which the established HS2 route, passing to the east of both Barnsley and Wakefield, has naturally been adopted for the Northern Powerhouse route between Sheffield and Leeds. Attention has then turned to upgrading the route between Leeds and Manchester to achieve the specified 30 minutes journey time. And finally, at some point in the future, the requirement for accelerated journeys between Manchester and Sheffield will be addressed.
HS2 and HSUK Performance in the Transpennine Triangle (Diagram 5.42 from HS2 : High Speed to Almost Nowhere)
The resulting 'transpennine triangle' of routes linking Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester might seem an obvious solution to connect the three cities at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse. However, its disadvantages can be readily appreciated from the fact that it requires 2 separate transpennine crossings, each with major lengths of tunnel. It may also take a very long time to implement in full. The sequential manner in which the solution has been developed has prevented holistic consideration of the basic problem, of connecting Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester by the most efficient and cost-effective means. No attention has ever been given to the self-evident alternative solution adopted by HSUK, of a Sheffield to Leeds route running to the west of the M1, and connecting to a single transpennine route to Manchester following the abandoned Woodhead corridor.
£5.5 Billion - the Cost of Getting It Wrong
This represents a massive design failure, and the extent of the failure is revealed by comparison of HS2 and likely HS3 routes with the alternative HSUK proposals. The HSUK routes linking Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester are 79km shorter, 23km less tunnel is required and the construction cost is estimated to be around £5.5 billion less. The HSUK report goes on to outline a wide-ranging list of other defects in the developing HS3/NPR scheme, all of which appear to arise from HS3 having been effectively predetermined by the established HS2 scheme. The text of HSUK’s report provides detailed explanations of how all of these defects can be avoided by HSUK’s more integrated and holistic design approach. These are all major advantages; and from the perspective of the Crofton community, an almost equal advantage is that none of the routes selected by HSUK need to go anywhere near to our village.
Needless Blight on Crofton and other Affected Communities
You will doubtless appreciate our concern, that our community is being blighted by ill-conceived proposals which plainly fail to provide the efficient intercity transport links that the Northern region requires if its economy is to prosper. We are firm in our belief that our region deserves the best possible transport system, and we would join with HSUK in their challenge to the transport establishment, to demonstrate that the established HS2 and developing HS3 proposals represent the optimum solution. If this challenge cannot be met, then it is clear that the current HS2 proposals cannot be sustained. Other solutions must be found.
We see it as a matter of urgency that we meet with you, to explain our concerns in greater detail. We will contact you shortly to make arrangements for this meeting.Press Release July 26 2017
Following the Visit to the Rail College in Doncaster, we call on Sir David Higgins to resign today for lack of openness, honesty and respect he has treated the HS2 Communities in the last year.
Crofton is a quiet village in West Yorkshire. HS2 Limited plans to run a High Speed Train through the village. Local residents have formed an Action Group to fight HS2. We will stop HS2 destroying our village of 9,000 people
Please visit our Facebook Page for live information on getting involved
New HS2 route to affect Crofton
Fact : 52% of Yorkshire People are solidly opposed to the wasting of £90 billion on High Speed 2 58% of Yorkshire Small Businesses don't want HS2 & Wakefield Council doesn't want HS2 why is it being built?(Comres 2015)
Fact : The New Recommended M18/Eastern HS2 route through Yorkshire involves the destruction of at least 240 homes, which is twice the amount of demolition required by the original proposed route of 105 homes , despite false claims made by Sir David Higgins on July 7th that "Overall, though, it is expected fewer properties would be need to be demolished" (p.22 Sheffield & South Yorkshire Report)
Fact : The New Recommended M18/Eastern HS2 route is not new but is identical to the route rejected by HS2 Limited in 2012 as part of it's sifting process. The East of Rotherham Group of routes was rejected because high noise and environmental impacts.
Fact: HS2 Limited quickly abandoned Sheffield Meadowhall HS2 station in July 2016, admitting the proposed 2013 route was the wrong choice but then dusted off old plans working on old maps & basic assessments done in 2011, five years old since when a 212 home housing development at the Strata Home Shimmer Estate in Mexborough and the 220 home Redrow Priory Fields & Harron Home Royal Wells Park at Crofton have been newly built. The First of these will be demolished by the new route & the other two close proximity to track & Depot.
Fact : The Statement made by HS2 Chairman Sir David Higgins that the new route would involve less risk from the legacy of mining,result in less overall expected noise impact is a false statement (p.22)No noise assessments have been carried out on the new route, but with 80,000 people living within 1km of the route : the numbers of people affected by intolerable levels of noise will exceed the estimate of 6,200 on the first route by a factor of 4. The past mining activities in Mexborough and Crofton would make the siting of a High Speed Train route unwise & expensive.