The Staunton Harold Estate is made up of the remnants of two ancient estates, with other pieces added at various times. My parents bought Staunton Harold in 1955, and then the former Coleorton Estate in 1966. They adjoin each other and were only separated by the A453 Nottingham to Birmingham Road.
Staunton has seen few changes in the last sixty years, but Coleorton has been less fortunate. First the Coal Board turned half of it into a moonscape with their opencast coal operations, which went on for fifteen years. Then the A42 motorway was constructed running parallel to the A453, with forty acres of our land trapped in between the two roads. And now we have received what look to be the definitive plans for HS2, the high speed railway to Nottingham and the north.
This line will run for half a mile through our land, trapping another fifty acres between rail and motorway. A noisy area will one day be much noisier. There are voices calling it a waste of money but on balance I think it should go ahead. Not so much because of the journey time saved as for freeing up capacity on our existing network. Half of its length will run through woodland planted after opencast mining twenty five years ago. How do we manage this? Nothing to be done but prune and thin the trees as though they will grow on for another hundred years.
Looking at the plans, where it leaves our land to the north HS2 follows the line of the old Derby to Ashby railway, opened in 1867 and closed by Dr Beeching in the 1960’s. The bridges are still there, built as it happens, by my great, great grandfather in the days of Victorian expansionism. What would he make of all this? ‘Go for it’, He’d say, ‘and stop shilly shallying with all the ifs and buts.’