Opposition parties criticise Tory MP's idea to build an 'international' train station near Northampton

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“It sounds like a last gasp attempt for a legacy”

Opposition councillors have criticised a Tory MP’s idea to build an international railway station near Northampton.

South Northants’ Tory MP Andrea Leadsom recently wrote to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the Secretary of State for Transport, and West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) making a case for the construction of a "Silverstone International" railway station. This move follows the cancellation of the controversial second phase of HS2.

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Ms Leadsom wrote: “Such has been the scale of unnecessary disruption to residents in South Northamptonshire, that many are calling for a dividend for our area by way of compensation. Specifically, residents are calling for a new “Silverstone International” railway station to be built on the site of the enormous HS2 construction compound just off the A43, north of Brackley.

Engineers at work on the first arch for the Greatworth green tunnel in September 2023.Engineers at work on the first arch for the Greatworth green tunnel in September 2023.
Engineers at work on the first arch for the Greatworth green tunnel in September 2023.

"I think we should be...ambitious – we should use some of the infrastructure funding that has become available for the Midlands and the North, together with a contribution from Silverstone Circuit, to build a major new train station on the route."

However, opposition party councillors across West Northamptonshire have criticised the plans.

Independent councillor Ian McCord (Deanshanger) said: “Andrea Leadsom's proposal overlooks the fact that any new station will result in a massive expansion of new houses in the local area. If approved, Brackley will have at least 5,000 houses, if not double that. If Andrea Leadsom wants to double the size of Brackley as a boost to UK plc, that may be something to debate. To ignore this reality shows either naivety on her part or a deliberate attempt to hide the consequences of her proposal from residents."

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The West Northamptonshire Labour Group also weighed in on the debate, holding back no punches.

Councillor Bob Purser, deputy Leader of West Northants Labour Group, said: “This is a remarkable proposal. It shows why the Conservatives are not fit to make decisions on National Transport strategy, why Andrea Leadsom’s days are numbered as a Conservative MP and that we need a new government who know how to plan and keep costs under control.

“I’ve not heard any of our residents call for this proposal. No Conservative councillors have suggested it in developing the local transport strategy. It would be of no use to residents getting to Silverstone. And when do you plan a station for two days a year?

“Ms Leadsom was part of the government that approved the London to Manchester highspeed line – she put the legislation through Parliament.”

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Labour councillor Danielle Stone (Castle ward) added: “Andrea Leadsom has got her way and had pulled the plug on HS2 for our northern neighbours. Now she has pulled a brand new, big idea out of a hat.

“But where has this idea come from? Is there a business case? Has it been consulted on? It sounds like a last gasp attempt for a legacy before she and the Conservatives bite the dust.”

A WNC spokeswoman previously said it is still waiting for firm details on what the cancellation of HS2 means for West Northamptonshire, and any possible implications.

"Once we have further details, we will consider our position with regards to Andrea’s letter,” said the council spokeswoman.