HS2 and South Kirkby Camp – Update


I start this update with an outburst that is probably too emotional and for that i apologise. Paul Maynard, the Minister responsible for HS2, is a coward. Worse still, he is a coward who treats the people of South Kirkby and our area with utter contempt.

In the past he has refused to accept my invitation to come and see South Kirkby Camp, a nationally important scheduled monument, and to meet with the people of South Kirkby face to face but has been open to dialogue on the impact of HS2, with myself. In his most recent response (below) he made it clear that, regardless of what we have been told and the previous consultation phase, the route of HS2 through our area is not yet fixed. I responded by requesting that, as the route is not yet fixed, he makes a promise to the people of South Kirkby that the monument will not in any way be negatively affected by the route. Given that he has promised to work with Historic England on the impact of the route and they have made it clear that the monument is nationally important, this seems a logical and easy statement for Paul Maynard to make.

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However, Paul Maynard has refused to make such a promise. More so he has proven the contempt with which he holds the people of our area in by allocating the task of responding to my correspondence to a very junior civil servant by the name of Rosanna Ford, in the Department for Transport. Let me make this very clear, we all have to start somewhere and i wish Rosanna Ford a long and prosperous career in service but to allocate this response to an employee who has been in the post since just October of this year is astounding. This campaign has taken in consultation with Historic England, the Secretary of State for Transport, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, our own Member of Parliament Jon Trickett and various others and has been rumbling on for over a year. This was not the time to pass the buck, which is exactly what Paul Maynard has done. We deserve better, we are their paymasters after all. The response itself (below) actually tells us nothing we have not already been told, it is a fob off.

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So, there we have it. Paul Maynard refuses to promise to save our historic landscape. That is the crux of the matter, he holds the cards and when push comes to shove he can’t make a promise but instead has proven his utter cowardice. Naturally i have responded as such:

Dear Mr Maynard,

Thank you for the response from your department to my recent communication regarding the scheduled monument South Kirkby Camp. However, let me make it very clear i am far from happy that you delegated the response to a junior civil servant who has been at the department since just October. I am sure that Miss Ford is an excellent employee and wish her success in her career but there is no way that since October she has been brought fully up to speed on part of the route which is so contentious and has taken in consultation between myself, Historic England, yourself, the Secretary of State for Transport, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport et al. To simply defer the response to such a junior member of the team shows the contempt you hold for the people in my community.
The response itself tells us nothing we do not already know, the route is not yet fixed and you will work with Historic England to assess the potential impact of the route and to limit the negative impact on the area. We know this. Historic England have made it clear in consultation with myself and the Yorkshire Party that they oppose the planned route if it is to take in any part of the monument and their scheduling of the monument makes this very clear. We also are aware that the department will use a hybrid Bill to overrule the current protections offered by legislation and take the views of Historic England out of the frame. Therefore i request again, if the route is not yet fixed i want you to personally make a promise to the people of South Kirkby and the surrounding environs that the monument known as South Kirkby Camp will not in any way be negatively affected by the route of HS2 and will not in any way be encroached upon by the route or it’s development (including storage of equipment and land grab) at any stage. This seems a logical and easy promise to make.
I again openly invite you to personally meet with myself, local residents, members of the Parish council, local Historic England representatives, local press and members of my party, the Yorkshire Party, who have been fighting to preserve our heritage from HS2 for so very long. Given your most recent snub this seems to be a suitable way to engage with the people you seemed to believe deserved to be treat with such contempt.
Matthew Thomas

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