A PUBLIC meeting is to be staged in a North Yorkshire village after the Government confirmed it may make several homes subject to compulsory purchase orders to make way for Britain’s new high-speed railway.

The meeting is being organised by parish councillors in the village hall at Church Fenton, near Tadcaster, at 7pm on Monday, to gauge residents’ reactions to the proposals and give them a chance to have their say.

Letters from the Government are understood to have gone to four homes in the village, confirming that they could eventually be subject to compulsory purchase orders if the proposed rail spur linking York to the HS2 line goes ahead.

But two of the recipients, David and Rosemary Nattriss, say they still aren’t sure what will happen if they want to sell their “blighted” home in the meantime.

The couple only found out about the proposals when a parish councillor came to their home to alert them on Monday, but they received confirmation in the form of a letter from the Department for Transport, which arrived on Wednesday. Mrs Nattriss said yesterday they were only just beginning to recover from the shock of the news.

She said it could be many years before it was known if the line was going ahead, and if they wanted to move in the meantime, they wouldn’t be able to sell the property.

“It’s the uncertainty of it that’s so upsetting.

“I am only just able now to speak about it without crying.”

She said the letter had been accompanied by a leaflet about an Exceptional Hardship Scheme for people potentially affected by blight and uncertainty, but she was not sure it applied to them, as it made no reference to the York spur line.

The Department for Transport spokesman has said it is too early to say how many properties will be affected by HS2 and work would continue to mitigate the route and limit potential blight throughout the design process.

Selby and Ainsty MP Nigel Adams said he was very concerned about the route’s proximity to some residents and had requested an urgent meeting with Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin to discuss ways in which the impact could be minimised.

Mr Adams said he was also concerned about the visual impact of two viaducts which were being proposed in the area, but stressed that he generally supported HS2, which would bring enormous economic benefits to the area and region.

High-speed link ‘a vanity project’

A YORK-BASED rail expert has branded the high-speed railway proposals as a “politicians’ and engineers’ vanity project.”

Jonathan Tyler, who runs transport consultancy Passenger Transport Networks and is a research fellow at the Institute of Railway Studies and Transport History at the University of York, claimed local authorities and business leaders should look more closely at the plans.

“There is something pathetic about northern politicians queuing up to welcome HS2, when no narrowing of the north-south divide can materialise for 20 years,” he said.

Mr Tyler argued that incremental change to the existing network, which could include some stretches of new line, for example for faster trans-Pennine times, would be infinitely wiser.