As the proposed route of HS2 has been finalised it appears that my campaign to protect South Kirkby Camp has fallen on deaf ears. I received no response from our constituency Member of Parliament, Jon Trickett and the government appear to have ignored the consultation process entirely. This week i have again written to Jon Trickett but in all honesty i don’t expect a response.
Of interest this week i noted that Councillor Wilf Benson wrote a small piece regarding the impact of the route of HS2 in the Hemsworth and South Elmsall Express ‘Your Say’ segment. There was not a single mention of the impact on our heritage. I have responded to the letter by sending my own letter to the newspaper as seen in full below:
I am writing in response to ‘How HS2 affects South Kirkby’ by Councillor Wilf Benson.
When the proposed route of HS2 was announced i took note that the line was to pass close by to South Kirkby Camp, ancient scheduled monument 54286. For anyone not familiar with the term ‘scheduled ancient monument’ Historic England guidance states that “a scheduled monument is an historic building or site that is included in the Schedule of Monuments kept by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. The regime is set out in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979”. Historic England themselves control the scheduling or desheauling of monuments, on behalf of the Secretary of State, and scheduled monuments such as South Kirkby Camp are “…by definition, considered to be of national importance. Furthermore, Historic England guidance states that “any works to it, and flooding and tipping operations that might affect it, with few exceptions require scheduled monument consent from the Secretary of State, (not the local planning authority).”
I am pointing this out for a number of reasons. Firstly, i wish to put on record that i a feel deeply for any families whose home may be negatively affected by the route of HS2, anywhere in our part of Yorkshire, but this does not mean that we should not have fought to protect our corner. We have a site of national importance, protected by a national body and that site is of major cultural and historical importance to our village. When it became clear to me that the route of HS2 would pass close by the site i had a discussion with Councillor Michelle Collins who agreed that we should try to protect the scheduled monument. I was also informed by Councillor Collins that the land on which the scheduled monument is located belongs to the Parish. With this in mind i contacted Historic England to raise my concerns and they responded by saying; “We noted the potential impact on South Kirkby Camp and the fact that it is difficult to tell from the scheme drawings exactly what the physical impact would be. The train line appears to be in a cutting as it passes closest to the scheduled monument but we are unsure whether this would involve further landtake in order to actually construct the line. This is something we are going to request clarification on. There could also be an impact on the setting of the camp and on people’s ability to appreciate and enjoy it. Our Principal Inspector of Ancient Monuments, Neil Redfern, is going to visit the site to assess this potential impact. We will then be providing advice to HS2 on the impact of the route on the historic environment (combining our comments with colleagues in the North West and East Midlands to provide one response from Historic England).”
So, we have a scheduled monument, which only the Secretary of State has the power to give consent to any works taking place on that monument, on land belonging to the Parish being potentially ruined by HS2. I, naturally, put forward my concerns to HS2 Ltd at the consultation stage and it appears that these concerns have fallen on deaf ears. Can i respectfully request that our councillors and Jon Trickett MP join me in continuing to question the decision of the government to seemingly ignore the consultation process which took place, prior to the route being confirmed?
Yorkshire Party member