How will HS2 affect the quiet suburb of Toton?

By Caroline Lowbridge
BBC News, Toton

Image caption,
Toton is near the border of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire

Most people in the UK have probably never heard of Toton, let alone been there.

However, the small suburb has been chosen as the site of the only East Midlands station for the HS2 high-speed rail network.

So what effect will this have on Toton, and what do people there think of the plans?

The decision has already raised eyebrows, with some suggesting the station should have been located in the nearby cities of Derby or Nottingham.

"Even people in Nottingham haven't heard of Toton," admitted David Watts, a councillor for Broxtowe Borough Council.

'Absolutely delighted'

Toton falls within the Nottinghamshire borough of Broxtowe but is located roughly between Nottingham and Derby.

Mr Watts therefore thinks it is an ideal location for HS2 to stop.

The station will be to the east of Toton Sidings - currently used as storage for more than 50 locomotives - so a lot of rail infrastructure is already in place.

Toton Sidings is also near the towns of Stapleford and Long Eaton and Mr Watts believes the railway station will be a boost for the whole area.

"We are absolutely delighted," said Mr Watts.

"All the political parties in Broxtowe have been asking for it to be here. It's going to bring jobs and development to the area which we are very pleased about.

Image caption,
Vivien Edwards said the noise would not bother her

"The only downside is it's not obviously accessible. There will have to be a new junction off the M1 or A52 [the road linking Derby and Nottingham]."

'Quite a change'

Residents in Toton seemed bemused by the government's announcement.

The suburb is mostly residential and there is no main centre.

"It's quite a big thing for our little town," said Eve Gray, 19.

"I can see how it would be good but we've got so much else going on it seems like they are spoiling the little town that it is.

"We've got the tram and they are about to build 800 new houses at the top of the hill. It would be great for them to have all this stuff but it's going to be quite a change for us."

Miss Gray has lived in in Toton for 12 years, since her family moved from Cheshire.

"One of the reasons [we moved] was because it wasn't a huge city," she said.

High-speed trains will be able to get from London to Toton in 51 minutes.

"It will be really quick to get to London, which would be good," said Miss Gray.

"It will be really disruptive [while it is built] but when it's done it will be good."

'The peaceful life'

Andy Brooks owns Brooks Computer Solutions, one of the few shops in Toton, and has lived in the town for 15 years.

"I was surprised to be honest because it's quite a major thing in the area," he said.

"An increase in clientele will obviously be great.

"It's going to affect the house prices in a positive way.

"On the whole I have to say I'm happy. It's good from an environmental point of view, using public transport."

Steve Barber, councillor for the nearby town of Beeston, is in favour of the proposed station but believes older people in the area will be against it.

"There are a lot of retired people who have moved to Toton for the peaceful life and it's going to alter the area," he said.

"Obviously the houses will shoot up in value but there will be an impact on noise.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
The proposed station will be built near the current Toton railway sidings

"You can't run 250 mile an hour trains through without some impact."

Vivien Edwards, 72, a retired nurse, has lived in Toton for a year-and-a-half and said the noise from the trains "wouldn't bother" her.

"The only thing I was upset about was the fact that they said there were a lot of homes nearby, so obviously they would have to move out," said Mrs Edwards.

She said she thought the money could be better spent elsewhere, such as the NHS and care for older people.

"Although I feel sorry for the people who commute and go to work I've got mixed feelings in a way, because I think there's more urgent needs than that," she said.

"People will probably go to Sheffield quite a bit because it's a popular place for shopping, so there's good things and bad things."

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