Church Fenton residents to petition against HS2

Selby and Ainsty MP Nigel Adams presented petitions from Church Fenton residents against HS2 phase two. (S)
Selby and Ainsty MP Nigel Adams presented petitions from Church Fenton residents against HS2 phase two. (S)
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Following fears of the potential harm caused by the HS2 rail project, Church Fenton residents are petitioning Parliament with their objections.

The High Speed 2 rail project would come through the village during construction phase two, and residents are now using the petitions procedure to raise their concerns.

One of several groups across the country, the local stop HS2 action group is headed up by Church Fenton Parish Council chair Jo Mason.

She said: “As a community if they adopt the initial preferred route for phase two, that comes extremely close to the village, within 150 metres of 120 houses, so it would completely change its character.

“It would completely destroy the rural outlook that people have. The noise would be unbearable, there would probably be about six or seven years of horrendous construction, and they are talking about 1,500 HGVs moving through per hour. This would have a huge effect on all the villages and towns around because of the spoil dumps and the construction camp.

“From a community perspective it is a bit of a disaster and it is our job as a parish council to protect the interest of this village.”

The Bill for phase one construction of HS2 from London to Birmingham is now at the committee stage when all aspects of the Bill are examined.

The petition process, at present concerned only with phase one, means the public can raise their concerns to a dedicated committee and set out their thoughts on how the Bill might be ammended.

However, Selby and Ainsty MP Nigel Adams hand-delivered the Church Fenton petitions against phase two, and Ms Mason hopes this will be the beginning of the end for the national rail project.

“We are hoping that so many ammendements would necessary that it would take a long time and people see there are no benefits from it. Just short of 2,000 people have petitioned, so they would need five sessions of parliament to get through that. A lot of people have put a lot of time and resources into some properly detailed work,” she said.

“We hope that the politicians will realise this is not a vote winner it is a vote loser. The sooner they realise and pull the plug the less money will be wasted.

“It is a joke and a farce to think they could bring this in under budget and that is before the devastating effect on the British countryside. It is a folly on the grandest scale.”

In the coming months the same petition process will be followed for the construction of the section from Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester, though Mr Adams said there are still key decisions to be taken about the link from Leeds to the East Coast Mainline (phase two) and these are expected at the end of the year.

After that, another Bill will need to be put before Parliament and only if this is passed will there be a petition process for this section, likely to be in 2016, when the Church Fenton evidence will be heard.