LCC Elections 2018 – Make your vote count!

Understand why your vote is so important this year!

With an all out election and a council leadership that is willing to destroy Woodlesford and surrounding areas with HS2 and NPR, this is our chance to hit them where it hurts and force them to reconsider their actions. Read on to understand how LCC has actively brought about the proposed devastation of LS25 and LS26 to fuel their own vanity project in the South Bank area of Leeds.

We invited all election candidates for our area to provide a written statement with respect to their position on HS2 Ltd’s proposed route through Swillington, Woodlesford, Oulton and neighbouring areas. Before you consider their views, continue reading to understand what’s happened and what you can do about it.

How LCC Sacrificed LS26

In January 2013, HS2 Ltd announced plans to build HS2 through our area. It transpired that they had shortlisted two routes prior to publication, one aligned with the existing Leeds station with trains arriving from the west (via White Rose), the other arriving at a terminus on the South Bank with trains via Woodlesford. With the costs and complexity of the two options being much the same, HS2 favoured the first which impacted less homes and had the potential for through services to the North.

LCC, however, expressed a determined preference for the station to be located on the South Bank in Leeds, which dictated the route and directly resulted in the massive blight in the LS25 and LS26 areas of Oulton, Woodlesford, Swillington and Garforth. Leeds Chamber of Commerce, Leeds Civic Trust and other local councils opposed this view but were eventually pressured into agreement by the Labour led executive.

Despite many platitudes from LCC’s leadership, the route remains, the blight has increased, compensation is woefully inadequate and residents are massively out of pocket financially. What’s more, if that weren’t enough, in collaboration with Northern Powerhouse Rail there are now plans to introduce more blight to our area with additional tracks (and even more trains) to connect HS2 with the existing station in Leeds to allow through services… that could have been achieved with the original HS2 option, and NO disruption to our area.

What You Can Do

This election is your opportunity to fight back. Support those that have spoken out against LCC’s leadership with regard to HS2’s impact on our area.  We need to empower those that may be able to improve our future.  Remember that nationally the Conservative, LibDem and Labour parties all voted for HS2. Locally there is opposition from all, however, our Labour led council have much to answer for and have achieved little, if anything, for us.

Have Your Say

Views received by SOWHAT from local residents that make some excellent points:

As far as I can remember Stewart Golton has always voted against HS2. Alec Shelbrooke opposed the chosen route through Oulton, Woodlesford and Swillington and did suggest alternative routes. The Labour MPs and Councillors did not want to risk Leeds being left off the eastern route and did bugger all to help us.

If additional connecting links and supporting facilities are now required to facilitate east/west connections and if these will result in additional costs and increase the impact on communities and the environment, then I would suggest that the whole route to and through Leeds should be reviewed. Leeds City Councillors should now not be worried that Leeds will be by-passed and support a full review or risk not being voted in in the affected areas.

The envisaged effect on the South Bank that the current proposed location for the new station (i.e. the “T” junction with the existing station) provides, would not be reduced if the new station was re-aligned parallel with the existing. The “T” junction does little if anything to help the redevelopment of the South Bank.

There is no reason now why the less damaging and less costly route via White Rose cannot be resurrected and re-costed. It was after all the route supported by everyone but the Council.

Candidates’ Statements

The responses received from candidates are grouped by electoral ward and listed in alphabetic order sorted by last name. Some responses are still awaited – candidates should send their submission as soon as possible. Follow the links below to view the information relevant to your ward.

The Guardian wants to hear from you

The Guardian would like to hear from individuals, communities and businesses affected by the planned route of HS2.

The HS2 rail link will affect many people in regions all along the proposed 140 mile route, with plans that will demolish properties, close businesses and indelibly alter landscapes by its proposed path.

The Guardian would like to hear what the impact will be for you.

Read more and contribute here:


Under Not Over (UNO) – Call for tunnels not viaducts

Demand that HS2 be completely tunnelled through our area to protect our green setting and avoid all the problems associated with a decade of construction. The mainline viaduct will destroy the Aire Valley – Oulton and Woodlesford will never be the same again.

Sign our petition and ask you family and friends to do the same, wherever they live.

You can read more about the issues in our latest HS2 Tunnel Campaign flyer


Depot Consultation and Demand for Tunnels

The consultation on the depot closes on Thursday evening. Act now to raise your objections to HS2. It is important that as many people as possible submit a response. We need everyone to object to the current proposed route and viadcuts through our area to demand that both the mainline and branch line are tunnelled completely to mitigation the blight on our villages. Demand it go UNDER NOT OVER!

Consultation Information and how to respond by 11.45pm Thursday 12th October

Documents can be found here:

Responses can be completed online:


Responses can be emailed to:

Be sure to include your full name and address if sending by email.


HS2 Phase 2b: Eastern leg rolling stock depot – GOV.UK

Seeks views on the proposed relocation of a rolling stock depot from New Crofton to a site in the Aire Valley adjacent to the M1.

Consultation Questions…

There is one main question asked:

  1. Do you support the proposal to locate the Eastern Leg RSD on a site east of Leeds in the Aire Valley adjacent to the M1? Please indicate whether or not you support the proposal, together with your reasons?


Whilst this question is specific to the Rolling Stock Depot (RSD), it is also important to feedback our views on moving the tunnel entrance away from the village, to before the M62, and replacing the viaduct by COMPLETELY tunnelling both the mainline and branchline. As a community if HS2 has to go ahead, it needs to go under and not over.

This objection can be added as additional comments to the online response, or in the email sent as part of the consultation.


Consultation Answer template / suggested points to include

Below are suggestions on what to include, but please feel free (and we encourage all) to put your own stamp on any response. Please share with friends, family, neighbours, and colleagues to ensure as many people respond as possible. Please write in your own words.

It is important that everyone responds, there CAN be multiple response per household, one for each person.

  1. Do you support the proposal to locate the Eastern Leg RSD on a site east of Leeds in the Aire Valley adjacent to the M1? Please indicate whether or not you support the proposal, together with your reasons?

I object to the newly proposed site for the Eastern leg RSD for a number of reasons that should have already been considered by HS2. My concerns are as follows:

  • I have huge concerns over the level of disruption caused during construction of the depot. The postcode of LS26, and surrounding areas is already going to face unprecedented blight with the construction of the main and spur lines going through Woodlesford, and up through Swillington, and Garforth. The new addition of the rolling stock depot will increase this even further. The transport infrastructure for the area is already not suitable for all the construction traffic that would be needed just to build the lines that have been proposed. Adding this depot to the area just compounds this huge issue further.
  • I understand part of the reason this was moved from near Crofton on the original plan was due to the level of blight it was going to cause to that area due to it being surrounded on 3 sides by the new lines and then the RSD. This is now the case for Woodlesford / Swillington, as we have the mainline, spurline, and RSD to the north. Why if this is unacceptable for one area, is it acceptable for ours?
  • I assume traffic in and out of the new depot will be 24/7/365? Impact on nearby villages needs to be mitigated and routes prescribed for motorway is closed.
  • Consideration is required for the compound effect on roads due to the depot and the proposed park and ride at Stourton, this needs to be fully assessed and mitigated.
  • If this does go ahead it needs to be ensured all access is via junction 45 on the M1
  • I would like confirmation on any additional impact on the Woodlesford train line closure during construction. At present no closure timeline has been given for during construction of the main HS2 line, I assume this will increase closure time?
  • What will be the number of train movements per day, and what times of the day will they happen?
  • Will the RSD be limited only to trains coming from Leeds and returning to Leeds (ie no reversing stuff to get on/off mainline – so need depots elsewhere, or cycle in during normal operational journey)
  • There will need to be additional access improvements (extra lane) at junction 45 of M1, as the current park and ride peak hours causes queues back onto M1north
  • Are there any specifics on noise and light pollution that can be given based on how HS2 know these type of depots operate?

Additional comments to add to your response on Under Not Over!

  • Other areas of the route have significantly more tunnelling being completed, and proposed. In order to limit blight on LS26 and the surrounding areas I would like to see the proposals updated to have both the main line, and branch line (that comes across the M62, past Clumpcliffe, towards Woodlesford, and then spurs off up to Swillington and beyond, with the main line going under Woodlesford) to be entirely tunnelled through our area. There should be no gigantic viaducts cutting towards, past, and alongside all the residential areas as has been proposed already.
  • Why does Manchester get 14km of tunnel and LS26 only get 1km? We demand the entire route (both branch and mainline) be tunnelled through this area
  • The additional blight on top generated from the new RSD on top of the huge scale of blight the area already has proposed, should have this additional tunnelling to at least provide some compensation.

HS2 Public Information Events

HS2 Public Information event at Oulton Institute
12 noon to 5pm Saturday 15 September 2017

This is your chance to drop in and examine their latest plans for our area and the proposed depot near Arla.

Make the most of this opportunity to express your views on their plans!

Demand more and longer tunnels, instead of the huge viaducts, to remove the blight to our valley. If they tunnel both the Leeds branch line and main line from the M62 it would avoid all the destruction and protect our green setting.

SOWHAT will also be available at the Institute (in the Committee room, first left inside the front door) all afternoon and have arranged for the following representatives to be present:

Karen Bruce (Labour Cllr) 12-2pm
Kieth Wakefield (LCC) 12-1pm
Andrew Hall (LCC) 12-2pm (Head of Transportation)
Dylan Brown (Green Party) From 12 noon

Oulton & Woodlesford Neighbourhood Forum will also be in attendance.

Have your say before it’s too late!

Update for those that missed the above event:

The current HS2 proposed route will destroy our area. Don’t let this happen. There are better alternatives. HS2 must tunnel the entire section through LS26 on both the branch and main lines. Go have your say. Find out about the consultations and send them your written objections.

Tuesday 19 September, 2pm to 8pm
Thorpe Park Hotel & Spa, 1150 Century Way, Leeds, LS15 8ZB

Wednesday 20 September, 2pm to 8pm
Thwaite Mills Watermill, Thwaite Lane, Leeds, LS10 1RP

Depot nr Skelton Grange / Arla / M1

HS2 recently announced plans for a maintenance depot opposite Arla and next to the M1.

This will clearly need connectivity to the HS2 tracks and is likely to cause further disruption to local rail services while these connections are made and realignment takes place. There are currently no estimates as to the severity or period of disruption anticipated.

The depot will be operational 24 hours a day.

A consultation on the proposed depot is currently open and runs until 12 October 2017 – raise your objections and concerns now!

HS2 Update 17 July 2017 – Route and Compensation

Today saw a flood of documents released from HS2.

Our initial comments and links to their files can be found on our facebook discussion:

In short (so far):

  • The route hasn’t changed through our area, the tunnels and viaducts are as bad as ever
  • HS2 have proposed a depot next to the M1 opposite Arla (Skelton Grange / Stourton) instead of Crofton
  • SOWHAT achieved a small victory with improved compensation arrangements at tunnel mouths

SOWHAT and Woodlesford residents clearly made a significant impact, this is reflected in the HS2 consultation reports, but HS2 don’t justify their position and haven’t reduced the devastation they will cause to our area. Indeed, the disruption to existing rail services is likely to be worse during the construction period with the addition of the depot.

Chris Grayling (Secretary of State for Transport) failed to deliver the promised update to the House of Commons today and instead HS2 released many documents which don’t appear to offer much by way of justification for decisions taken. Grayling has been heavily criticised and the Speaker has promised to summon him to appear tomorrow to answer “extensive questions”.


Election candidates on HS2

SOWHAT asked the five Parliamentary candidates to complete a survey to inform the community of their position on HS2. Three written and one video response have been received.

You can view the individual responses here:

The video response is here:

Keep in mind that the viaduct is 28-36m high, 2200m long, and construction in our area is likely to take 7 or more years. You can read more details about the impact of HS2 here: HS2-Impact-Brief-v2.4.pdf


Also from the Constituency Election Hustings last Saturday run by Rothwell Catholic Church, we have the following report:

Conservative: Alec asserted his support for the project and the benefits he thought it would bring to Leeds. If it doesn’t come here, he says, then all the business will go to Manchester. KPMG have told him they will move there. He does not support the proposed route and stated that the reroute via tunnel is down to his campaigning.

Labour: David said he wants to see the Church Fenton spur abandonned, and that he wants HS2 to open an office in Leeds.

Liberal: Stewart wants a fairer deal for local people, the impact being too heavy, but talked about HS2 in principle as be progress.

Yorkshire: Matthew stated he was against HS2 and would prefer money to be invested in an East / West line across the Pennines.

Green: Dylan spoke eloquently against the HS2 project and said that they are working on a local transport plan that would reopen track closed under Beeching. He has had a long career working in the rail industry.