Ed Balls slams MP’s plan for Ardsley HS2 route

Ed Balls has hit back at suggestions HS2 should be re-routed through Ardsley, Thorpe and Lofthouse.
Ed Balls has hit back at suggestions HS2 should be re-routed through Ardsley, Thorpe and Lofthouse.

A new high-speed railway line should run through East Ardsley and Thorpe, according to a Conservative MP from one of Morley’s neighbouring constituencies.

The HS2, a high speed rail network, is set to improve connections between cities across the UK including Leeds to Birmingham and London.

But MP for Elmet and Rothwell, Alec Shelbrooke, has caused controversy after putting forward a proposal to re-route the HS2 through Lofthouse, Thorpe and East Ardsley – rather than the current plans for the line which would see it pass through his own constituency of Woodlesford, Swillington and Garforth.

He said that the current draft route for the HS2 is “totally inappropriate.”

Mr Shelbrooke, who debated High Speed Rail in the House of Commons, said: “HS2 is a very important project for the city of Leeds but [it] cannot be built on the back of hard-working people who have invested their livelihoods in their houses.”

Morley and Outwood MP Ed Balls was quick to argue against Mr Shelbrooke’s alternative plan.

Mr Balls said: “Alec Shelbrooke is clearly frustrated by his own government’s proposed route for HS2 which goes through his constituency.

“But the important issue is to consider value for money and the impact on all local residents – not just Alec Shelbrooke’s constituents.

“The problem with the Shelbrooke plan is that it would substantially increase the cost of what is already a hugely over-budget project.

“The priority ought to be finding ways to cuts costs and not increase them.”

And Leeds city councillor Lisa Mulherin (Ardsley and Robin Hood) said: “Mr Shelbrooke’s slap-dash plan is outrageous.”

She said: “We as a council take on board his constituents’ concerns but it’s completely unacceptable for him to suggest passporting those problems onto other communities.”

Coun Mulherin, who is in support of HS2 as she believes it will help economies outside of the South East, said that Mr Shelbrooke’s ideas were unfounded and without any proper consultation.