Crying shame as HS2 committee makes ‘overdue’ visit

Artist's impression of HS2

Artist's impression of HS2

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It is a ‘shame’ the HS2 select committee did not visit teary families sooner, according to Andrea Leadsom.

The South Northants MP led the 20-strong party on a whistle-stop tour of the region and some potential victims could not hold back the tears.

Andrea leadsom MP with HS2 select committee in Brackley. From the left, Ian Mearns MP, Cllr. Elaine Wiltshire, Cllr. Mark Morrell, Linda Carter, town clerk, Henry Bellingham MP, Andrea Leadsom MP, Robert Syms MP and Sir Peter Bottomley MP. PNL-141027-153532009

Andrea leadsom MP with HS2 select committee in Brackley. From the left, Ian Mearns MP, Cllr. Elaine Wiltshire, Cllr. Mark Morrell, Linda Carter, town clerk, Henry Bellingham MP, Andrea Leadsom MP, Robert Syms MP and Sir Peter Bottomley MP. PNL-141027-153532009

They visited Greatworth, Radstone and Brackley where families voiced concerns about the controversial £50 billion train line.

Speaking at Brackley BP petrol station, just metres from where the trains are set to thunder past, Mrs Leadsom said: “It’s a shame HS2 hadn’t done this sooner.

“So many of the points are no-brainers. People have been living under a cloud of concern for some time.

“But I feel completely sure when the time comes, they will have been resolved.

Andrea Leadsom MP at HS2 select committee meeting. PNL-141027-153548009

Andrea Leadsom MP at HS2 select committee meeting. PNL-141027-153548009

“The visit was exceptionally well organised and all arguments and points were conveyed clearly and succinctly.”

The select committee, who visited Brackley on Monday last week, made the trip ahead of hearing petitions in parliament.

Its chairman Robert Syms said: “We did have people cry in some cases because clearly the potential impact is large.

“They have worked all their lives and, clearly, they have a right to a say.

Cllr Mark Morrell, Mr Pothole, at HS2 select committee meeting. PNL-141027-153642009

Cllr Mark Morrell, Mr Pothole, at HS2 select committee meeting. PNL-141027-153642009

“People are always polite and I think they appreciated meeting somebody who might be able to have some impact.

“Standing on their doorstep or on farmland, it’s given us a much better view and when they come down to London, at least we have viewed it for ourselves.”

Brackley Town Councillors say families will suffer from noise and pollution once the trains begin travelling to and from the capital.

The council said goings on at a proposed compound north of town - the largest outside London and Birmingham - could be ‘overwhelming’.

It is also concerned about traffic chaos, with more drivers using the A43/A422 corridor and hundreds of two-way HGV trips on the same roads each day.

However, the council is open to the idea of a Brackley station to serve Silverstone Circuit and the planned 50,000 new homes across the region. Councillors stressed any potential station must not take money away from a mitigation pot.

A spokesman for HS2 Ltd said: “This was the fourth route visit of the committee’s programme so far and they are proving to be very worthwhile and informative.

“We had two senior HS2 engineers on the visit through Northants who were happy to answer questions from both the committee and local residents.

“It is important that people affected by the construction and operation of the railway are able to speak directly to the committee and these tours, along with the hearings in parliament, allow that to happen.”