Category Archives: sowhat

Update and Call to Action

Today we held a public information meeting at Oulton Institute to update everyone on HS2’s current proposals, provide feedback from our meeting with them last week, and to set out what everyone needs to do urgently to respond to the public consultations.

To secure the future of our villages we need our voice to be heard. Only by generating a significant volume of responses will HS2 be compelled to listen. This could well be our last opportunity to influence their plans.

Responses must be submitted before their 9 March 2017 deadline.  Read more…

We also encourage everyone to sign our petition and to write to our MP, Councillors and LCC.

You can view a copy of our HS2 Update (PDF) presentation. We also showed videos from our drone flying at the height of the train, and walked through our template response documents.

The HS2 route consultation was not designed for our area and their response form doesn’t make much sense for us. It is better to write a letter (or email), drawing on our templates where appropriate and adding your own content, and then address this to HS2 as part of their “Phase 2b Route Consultation“.

The property compensation consultation form and details may be used as supplied, although you are also entitled to supplement or submit your  response by letter or email if you wish. You can also submit your response online.

Click the graphic below for a copy of today’s presentation.

Woodlesford Illustration

Click on the images to enlarge. Although it’s not strictly to scale the illustration above gives a good idea of the impact on Woodlesford. The tunnel mouth cutting is around 140m wide (because there are in fact TWO tunnels, one for each track), and the track depth below ground level is about 15m. The viaduct height can be seen on the profile below which is to scale. The red house is just over 7m high, the size of a typical UK house. The viaduct is four times that height at Swillington Organic Farm!

Click these links for more images and videos

Consultations Update

There are currently two consultations being run by HS2 Ltd, one on the Phase 2 route which will run through our communities, the other on compensation for the London to Birmingham section.  It is essential that as many people as possible respond to both, so please get every member of your household, friends and family members, no matter where they live, to complete responses for each consultation or put in their own submissions – every household in the UK will be paying £3,000 for the pleasure of HS2 so it matters to everyone!

Responding couldn’t be easier just sign and date the responses, along with your name and address, and pop them in the post using the freepost address provided, or if local drop them at Smiffies or Swillington Community Centre letterbox (on the gate of Swillington Primary School gate).

Phase 2 Route Consultation

Following the recent HS2 Ltd roadshows in Leeds, Garforth and Rothwell the SOWHAT committee has produced a generic response letter to the Phase 2 route consultation which can be used by anyone wishing to put in a response but for whatever reason don’t want, or feel able to write an individual submission.  The letter has been posted out by Alec Shelbrooke MP to over 1,000 homes in the area, SOWHAT will be delivering to further houses, copies have been left in a number of local businesses (Smiffies in Woodlesford, Swillington Community Centre and others), plus it can be downloaded below.

If you would like to read more about the consultation, find out what questions are being asked, view route maps or find out about local issues such as noise, visual blight and construction impacts please see HS2 Ltd’s website at


Phase 1 Compensation Consultation

HS2 Ltd is currently holding a consultation into compensation on Phase 1, and it follows that what they get so shall we, so we need everyone to respond to this.

SOWHAT have adapted five versions of a postcard response produced by HS2 Action Alliance, which again can be used to respond to the compensation consultation.  A postcard has been sent out to over 1,000 homes in the area by Alec Shelbrooke MP, further will be delivered by SOWHAT, some are available to pick up at various local businesses, or each of the five versions is downloadable below in letter form (you need only print off one version, any will do).

Further information on the compensation consultation can be found on the HS2 Ltd website



HS2 Response to route consultation FINAL
Phase 1 compensation consultation response 1
Phase 1 compensation consultation response 2
Phase 1 compensation consultation response 3
Phase 1 compensation consultation response 4
Phase 1 compensation consultation response 5

Phase 2 Route Consultation Roadshow

Friday 1st November 2013
Blackburn Hall, Rothwell
12noon to 8pm

Please attend, this is going to be your only chance to meet with HS2 Ltd during this consultation, to ask questions, highlight specific local issues and tell them how it will devastate our lovely villages and countryside.

Phase 1 Compensation Consultation

HS2 Ltd is currently holding a consultation into compensation on Phase 1, and it follows that what they get so shall we, so we need everyone to respond to this (closing date 4th December).   We have had postcard responses printed which will be posted out to over 1,000 homes and also made available at various local businesses to pick up (list to follow).  The cards are free to post and only require a signature and address which = 0p and 5 minutes of your time.  The consultation questions to which the postcards respond can be found here within response guidance issued by HS2 Action Alliance (this can be used as an alternative to the postcards if you would like to write your own response).

Newsletter June 2013

PDF download

It has been a little while since we last provided you with an update on what has been going on, so here goes….

Regular Meetings with Alec Shelbrooke

We have established monthly meetings with Alec Shelbrooke MP to discuss developments in our campaign and also Alec’s proposal for an alternative route; so far we have met twice. As part of his work on this, he has arranged for engineers from HS2 Ltd to visit the area so they can be shown the geography of where they are proposing to build whopping great viaducts. Representatives from SOWHAT will be joining the visit. We will keep you informed of the outcome(s).

Swillington Organic Farm Open Day – SOWHAT Attending

This Sunday, 9th June, Swillington Organic Farm will be holding their annual open day with plenty to do for all the family (lots of baby animals to keep the kids entertained). Ed has had a great idea for illustrating how the train line will carve through the farm and the scale of the viaducts – worth coming along for alone! SOWHAT will be having an information stall at the event, so please come down, between 11am and 4pm, to lend your support to both us and the farm.

Rothwell May Day Fair – SOWHAT Stall

SOWHAT had a stall at the Rothwell May Day Fair. Lots of people were very interested in hearing about the proposed route and its impact on the local community and environment. It was heartening so many support our efforts and believe the whole project should be scrapped. We will be having another stall at the Rothwell Carnival on Saturday 13th July, so make sure you pay us a visit at Springhead Park.

HS2 Debate in Leeds

On Thursday 27th June Leeds Metropolitan University’s Rosebowl is playing host to an event entitled ‘HS2 Debate: The fast train south is a strain not a gain’. The debate starts at 6.30pm and is open to anyone to attend, with advanced purchase of a ticket (£10). For more information please go to:

Campaign Funds

A huge ‘thank you’ to those of you who have donated to the SOWHAT campaign, so far we have raised over £900 which includes a very generous single donation of £500 from Appleyard Arbor Homes Ltd. The funds raised so far have enabled us, amongst other things, to produce leaflets and large format maps of the route, and pay for speakers from national anti HS2 organisations. We have also contributed £200 to HS2AA’s high court appeal fund, more on which below.

Political Opposition to HS2 in West Yorkshire Grows

You may have seen in the media over the last couple of weeks that a number of regional politicians have spoken out against HS2. Firstly, Barry Sheerman MP for Huddersfield has told Radio Leeds about how he was “conned by HS2 spin but changed my mind when I studied the evidence”. You can listen to the interview here . Following this both Cllrs Peter Box and David Green, leaders of Wakefield and Bradford Councils respectively, have expressed their concerns. Cllr Box has stated “At this time, I do not believe an economic case for HS2 has been made. We have to consider the environmental impact on the region and represent existing train provision and we have to ask the question – does this investment give residents the best deal? The cost per mile of HS2 has been identified as between £130m and £160m per mile, with 11.4 miles going through our district. At a minimum, this would be a massive £1.48bn that could, if invested in Wakefield make a real difference to the district, for example bringing our highways up to scratch and building new infrastructure.”

Cllr Green has said “I have misgivings about the way in which it is currently promulgated. I think it is a one club approach. Without investment in regional infrastructure at the same time you have to question whether it will develop the economy.”

Unfortunately there has been no such questioning from Leeds City Council as of yet.

National News

It has been a good few weeks nationally, following on from two Newsnight reports into fair compensation and the business case which highlighted significant issues with both, we have had the publication of the National Audit Office report into the robustness of the business case for HS2 and also the Government’s Major Project Authority has classified HS2 as ‘amber red: success in doubt’. The NAO ‘has expressed reservations about the Department’s business case. In particular, in presenting its case for investment in the project, the Department is said to have poorly articulated the strategic need for a transformation in rail capacity and how High Speed 2 will help generate regional economic growth.’ The full report can be found via the following link:

HS2 Action Alliance Return to Court

Back in March HS2 Action Alliance was given leave to appeal the judicial review decision on the environmental case. The ability to lodge the appeal was entirely dependent on £100,000 being raised by the end of May. Through a huge effort, including the raising of £20,000 over the last May bank holiday, the target was achieved and it is now all systems go for an appeal hearing in the near future. We’ll keep you updated on the outcome.

Exceptional Hardship Scheme Consultation Closes

As you will all be aware the Exceptional Hardship Scheme consultation closed on 20th May. Hopefully it won’t be too long before HS2 Ltd publish the findings/results. A big thank you to everyone who submitted a response. We will post our group response on the website very soon.

National STOPHS2 Convention – 29th June

Stop HS2 are holding a national convention on 29th June at Stafford County Showground, bringing together groups from across phase 1 and 2. A couple of representatives will be attending and we’ll provide an update after the event.

That’s it for now, thanks for reading.

Consultation deadline extended, now closing 20th May

The extension is due to HS2 Ltd releasing new information on the Phase 1 Exceptional Hardship Scheme which has been deemed essential for Phase 2 consultees to make fully informed responses.  The additional information can be accessed below:

Supplementary Information Note
HS2 Blight study
Phase 2 consultation extension Q and A

Those who have already submitted a response can provide a new/further response if they wish in light of the new information released.

For more information please go to the HS2 Ltd website at

Phase 2 Exceptional Hardship Scheme (EHS) Consultation

Phase 2 Exceptional Hardship Scheme (EHS) Consultation


It is essential that as many people as possible respond to the Government/HS2’s consultation on the proposals for the HS2 “Exceptional Hardship Scheme”.  To provide assistance in completing your consultation response the SOWHAT committee has put together a guidance document highlighting key points/issues with the proposed EHS scheme which you may wish to include in your submission.   In addition to this we have received a similar document from the HS2 Action Alliance which has been shaped by experience from phase 1.

Please take the time to respond and urge as many of your friends and family to also do so, no matter where they live – it’s a numbers game!!

Consultation Document
EHS – SOWHAT response guidance
HS2AA phase 2 EHS consultation response guide