AN ACTION group has been formed to fight plans for Britain’s new high-speed railway to run through the outskirts of a North Yorkshire village.
More than 120 residents of Church Fenton, near Tadcaster, turned up to the campaign group’s first meeting.
A spokesman said villagers were concerned the proposals could cause blight and affect their investment in their homes.
However, they insisted they were not “nimbys”, saying they would continue to fight the HS2 proposals even if its route was changed away from Church Fenton, as they felt there was no justifiable economic or environmental argument for the line.
The Press reported last week how a rail spur was set to link the new London to Leeds high speed route with the East Coast Main Line near Church Fenton.
The spur will ensure York passengers can use the new route, but four properties on the edge of the village are thought to lie directly on the route of the spur.
One couple, pensioners David and Rosemary Nattriss, spoke of their shock after discovering their detached house in Common Lane might be bought compulsorily and face demolition to make way for the line.
A spokesman for the action group said villagers had been contacted by similar groups across the country who were facing the same battle against HS2.
He said: “There is mounting public opposition to these proposals and the people of Yorkshire will not be fobbed off with a London-centric scheme which won’t benefit this region and will cost every household in the UK £1,500.”
He said the group was arguing for investment instead in the current railway network, and this seemed even more relevant following the discovery last week of a six-inch gap in the East Coast Main Line track near Hambleton.
“We should be proud of the rail network that our ancestors gave us,” he said.
“It provides links for many commuters throughout the country and not just the few who will benefit from HS2.”
Ian Jordan, HS2 Ltd director Leeds, Manchester and Heathrow, said High Speed Two would boost the economy in Yorkshire through thousands of new jobs and greatly improved connections between the region and the rest of the country.
He said the Government was bringing forward the public consultation on routes north of Birmingham to start later this year, enabling people to have their say before any decision on where the line will run.
He said: “Wherever practicable, the proposed route has been designed to minimise potential impacts on people and properties as well as important environmental features.
“We will work closely with communities and interested parties to refine plans to find the right balance between delivering essential infrastructure and respecting the rights and concerns of those most affected.”