A study is set to be produced looking at the possibility of extending Nottingham’s tram line from the proposed HS2 hub at Toton to Langley Mill and Kimberley.
Broxtowe Borough Council has agreed to spend £100,000 on consultants to look at the viability of the project, despite concerns over the future of HS2.
It had been suggested the council delay its decision on whether to commission the study until there was more certainty about the future of the project.
But the authority, which is led by a coalition of Labour, Lib Dem and independents, decided to approve the spending, with the addition of a clause stating the report is dependent on HS2 going ahead.
It will look at whether it is possible, in engineering terms, to extend the tram line from the yet-to-be-built HS2 station north, into Langley Mill in Derbyshire and Kimberley.
A separate feasibility study carried out for the council looked at possible routes for extending the tram from Phoenix Park, near Bulwell, through Kimberley to Ikea at Giltbrook.
However, there was not universal support for the proposal to commission the latest study.
At a meeting of the Finance and Resources Committee yesterday (October 10), the deputy leader of the Conservative group councillor Paul Simpson, who represents Nuthall East and Strelley, said: “The lead item on tonight’s 6 o’clock news was that the HS2 report will come out next week. It will contain information that recommends that the loop from Birmingham to Leeds is abandoned.
“In view of that, I can see no point in spending £100,000 of taxpayers’ money until we know what we’re doing for sure. It seems ridiculous to consider spending this money.
“I would prefer that we delay any decision until the next meeting of the finance committee in December.”
Councillor Shane Easom, who represents Kimberley for the Conservatives, said: “I think this idea is not a good idea at all.
“I don’t think the tram works here (in Broxtowe), I think it’s a bit of a vanity project.
“I think you’ve got to move with the times, and a tram is pretty much Victorian. Where can it go? What can it do? It’s on tracks.
“It’s £80 million a mile, and that’s if there’s no issues.”
Councillor Greg Marshall, who represents Beeston West for Labour, added: “In terms of HS2, it does – if the rumours are correct – spell some real concern for this area.
“If I was building HS2 I would have built it in reverse and done the north and Midlands first, and done the south last.
“The business case for HS2 only stacks up if the midlands and north are indeed built and that includes an eastern link to Leeds as well.”
Councillor Patrick Lally represents Beeston Central for Labour, and said: “This is infrastructure for the future, and it doesn’t rely on HS2. The (tram) was not built for the now, it’s for the next 20 years.
“I think this is a very sensible idea with or without HS2, I think our borough needs it.”
The vote passed narrowly with six votes in favour and six against. In the event of a tie, the chairman casts the deciding vote, and in this instance chairman Greg Marshall voted in favour of the study.
A spokeswoman for Nottingham City Council said: “We are aware of Broxtowe Borough Council’s plans to investigate tram extensions to Kimberley and Langley Mill, and will work closely with them to help develop any proposals.”