Councillors approve a £100k fighting fund to oppose rail depot near Northampton

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A cabinet meeting has seen Northamptonshire councillors vote overwhelmingly in favour of establishing a fund to fight the Rail Central plans.

The meeting saw 28 South Northamptonshire councillors vote in favour of a motion that proposed to use up to £100,000 of public money on technical reports to “measure nuisance and obtain expert advice on flooding and landscaping”.

Two councillors, Chris Lofts and Martin Johns, voted against the motion and a further five abstained.

Members of the public, commenting on a story previewing the motion, had questioned why public money was being used to oppose a project that might create 8,000 jobs.

But Councillor Anne Addison, whose ward covers Milton Malsor, said she was sceptical whether that figure could ever be realised.

She added: “We are in the fortunate position of being an area with low unemployment so that is not our biggest consideration. This is a horrific plan.”

Conservative councillor Hywel Davies, for Blisworth and Roade, who voted in favour of the motion, said that South Northants Council would be a consultee on the plans and public money was needed in order to gather independent evidence to submit to the Government, rather than reports from “the developer or PR people”.

He added: “Certain councillors questioned whether we could get more rates by supporting the plan.

“That’s not human, The council would like more rates, but not at the expense of residents who will lose their houses or be blighted.

“Money is important but people must come first.”