Nottinghamshire councillors clash in row over HS2 land at Toton

Conservative and Independents councillors have continued to bicker over the latter’s porposals to raise £20m for road repairs across the county by selling land at Toton initially bought for the now-scrapped HS2 northern leg.
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The Independent Alliance opposition will put forward an amendment at next week’s full council budget meeting arguing that land at Toton should now be sold to raise money for road repairs.

But this was dismissed by the ruling Conservatives at County Hall as ‘selling off the family silver’ and a move that would ‘severely damage the local economy’.

Furthermore, Coun Ben Bradley MP (Con), council leader, said plans were in place at the site for thousands of new jobs, homes and transport infrastructure that is set to bring billions in to Nottinghamshire's economy over the next 20 years.

Coun Keith Girling (right) and council leader Coun Ben Bradley MP say conversations are ongoing about the huge potential for the HS2 land at Toton. Photo: National WorldCoun Keith Girling (right) and council leader Coun Ben Bradley MP say conversations are ongoing about the huge potential for the HS2 land at Toton. Photo: National World
Coun Keith Girling (right) and council leader Coun Ben Bradley MP say conversations are ongoing about the huge potential for the HS2 land at Toton. Photo: National World

But the Independents have accused Coun Bradley and the Tories of ‘misleading the people’ and referenced a council meeting in December when senior Tory councillor Keith Girling said the council ‘had not decided what it was going to do with the land at Toton’.

But Coun Girling said that, while they had not made any specific ‘council decisions’ on what to do with the land at Toton, it did not mean there wasn’t a wider regional conversation about the huge opportunities for the site.

Coun Steve Carr (Ind), member of the Independent Alliance, said: “I have long said that this land should be disposed of and put to better use.

"Ben Bradley is misleading people when he claims that there are plans to bring billions into Nottinghamshire’s economy from this land and trying to make excuses for not backing our sensible, common sense alternative budget plans.

"The Tories are playing politics and people deserve an honest debate about their biggest concern – that being the state of our broken roads and pavements.

"They accuse us of ‘selling the family silver’ – this from the party who want to flog County Hall to the highest bidder – yet this land was only bought in 2019 for HS2.

"Now HS2 isn’t happening, it is vital we dispose of this land.

"Yet again, the Tories are proving themselves woefully out of touch with public opinion.”

Coun Girling replied: "Whether we sell or develop this land as part of a joint venture is still up for discussion, but that does not mean there isn’t a wider regional conversation about the huge opportunities here.

"We have a duty to get the best possible outcomes for the residents we represent.

"The suggestions put forward by the Independent Alliance are simply irresponsible.”

“We continue to work closely with strategic partners, such as the East Midlands Development Company and the East Midlands Stations Growth Board, who are driving this project forward alongside the districts and boroughs.

"We have a huge opportunity which, as Coun Bradley stated, will boost the local economy, and generate masses of new jobs in the area.

“At the end of the day, we do not need to sell off this land prematurely for a margin of what it could achieve.

"We have clear ambitions for the site to reach its full potential for the benefit of the county.

"The additional funding for our highways has already been secured in the form of a £1.5bn transport investment as part of the devolution deal.”