'HS2 train route is vital for Northampton to thrive', borough council to tell Theresa May

Northampton Borough Council is set to break ranks with other local authorities in the county by backing the controversial HS2 route.

Wednesday, 31st October 2018, 11:15 am
Updated Wednesday, 31st October 2018, 12:35 pm
Northampton train station

South Northamptonshire Council is against the high speed line as the route cuts through rural areas, threatening homes and countryside between Brackley and Upper Boddington. And Northamptonshire County Council are also set to come out against the £56 billion scheme.

But a motion proposed by former Guildhall leader Phil Larratt (Con, East Hunsbury) urges Northampton Borough Council to write to Theresa May expressing its support for the railway line.

Councillor Larratt says: "While noting the cost of HS2, this council reaffirms its belief that such new infrastructure is vital to the economic growth of Northampton, and the provision of a sustainable rail network serving the town as it grows in the future.

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"Similarly, without HS2, we will not be able to deliver our aspirations for better rail connectivity for Northampton, with services of East / West Rail directly linking to Northampton, and the provision of regular direct services to the North West of England, North Wales, and Scotland."

The West Coast Main Line, including the Northampton Loop, is almost running at full capacity. And the line will become more strained if a proposal for a million homes between Oxford and Cambridge goes ahead.

But a new high-speed line would free up capacity allowing more and faster services, giving more seats to commuters between Rugby, Northampton, Milton Keynes and London, and would also allow room for more rail freight.

Councillor Larratt's motion - which is set to be debated on Monday, November 5 - comes as the county council prepares to call on Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to cancel or pause HS2.

Councillor Larratt says: "We consider this not to be in the best interest of Northampton.

"This council resolves to write to the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Transport calling on them to pursue HS2 with commitment and vigour in order for Northampton to have a sustainable rail service in the future, thereby providing the town with better rail connectivity to support the economic wellbeing and continuing growth of Northampton."

When complete, HS2 will allow trains travelling at up to 250mph to travel direct between London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. HS1 is the UK's original high speed line, connecting London and the Channel Tunnel.