Hundreds of people crammed into a North Yorkshire village hall last night to discuss the implications of Britain's new high speed railway for their community.

Householders at Church Fenton, near Tadcaster, have been told several homes in the village could be demolished to make way for the tracks that are planned to link York with the HS2 Leeds to London railway line.

Parish councillors said they organised the event to give residents more details of the proposals and to gauge their reactions.

The hall was so crowded that some villagers were unable to get in and stood in the cold, straining to hear what was being said inside.

The Press wanted to attend the event, but on arrival was told that it was a private meeting to which the media were not invited.

Parish councillors explained that they expected some villagers to be very upset and they felt it was not appropriate for the media to be present when that happened.

Before they went in to the meeting, some residents gave The Press their views.

They included concerns about how the railway would impact on the local environment and the potential loss of several homes. Others said they disagreed with the amount of money being spent on HS2.

Martyn Whyte said: “I am opposed to HS2 altogether. I think the money could be spent in much better ways.

“A lot of people in the village are upset about this and feelings are running very high. There are no positives for the village.”

Darren Collier said he was completely opposed to the scheme which he understood would include a track structure 40 feet above the current ground level.

Lisa Haslam said: “I am concerned about the impact on the environment and people's homes.”

Another resident, who did not wish to be named, said the proposed railway would come very close to her home on the edge of the village. “I am not very happy,” she said.

The Department for Transport 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.