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Northamptonshire County Council ‘isolated’ on HS2

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Northamptonshire County Council is becoming “increasingly isolated” in its support for the HS2 high-speed rail link, it has been claimed.

A number of people spoke out against the scheme during a lively debate at County Hall last week, saying that it would bring no benefits to Northamptonshire.

But several councillors reiterated their support, as did the opposing Labour and Liberal Democrats.

And a motion put forward by UKIP, proposing the council joins the HS2 pressure group 51M, was laughed out of the chamber by all other parties.

If built, the route would cut through south Northamptonshire, between Brackley and Upper Boddington.

South Northamptonshire councillor Rosie Herring (Con, Danvers and Wardoun), said: “The county council is getting increasingly isolated in its support for HS2.

“Many residents and businesses are adversely affected. The railway travels across some of the finest countryside in the county.

“If someone wanted to build a porch in this area, they would be scrutinised and probably turned down.”

Councillor Michael Clarke (Con, Hackleton and Grange Park), cabinet member for transport, said the authority’s most important job was to help people affected by the scheme.

He said: “The movers of this motion are still examining the timetable as the train is leaving the station.

“The question is, how is this relevant to the people of Northamptonshire?

“We need to be focusing on how we can help people who are affected by this.

“We are trying to help with compensation and mitigation for the losses they will suffer, which are inevitable.”

Both Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors also spoke in favour of HS2.

Jill Hope (Lib, Sixfields) said: “In France and Germany, they make a decision and get on with it. We faff about.

“It is the only option. Get it done now.”

Outgoing Northampton South MP, Brian Binley, another advocate of HS2, said: “UKIP proposed three high-speed rail lines in their 2010 manifesto. Brunel and Watt would be horrified at the NIMBYism at the heart of this.”

The Government decided to proceed with HS2 in January 2012. Critics say it is too costly to the taxpayer and the economic benefits are not clear enough.

 

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