Call to join anti-HS2 group rejected

Conceptual image of HS2
Conceptual image of HS2

A call for Northants County Council (NCC) to join HS2 protest group 51M has fallen on deaf ears as councillors voted against the motion yesterday, Thursday.

Four councillors, including Brackley representative Cllr Jim Broomfield, had put forward the idea of joining the group – an amalgamation of the county councils of Buckinghamshire, Warwickshire and Oxfordshire and South Northants Council, Aylesbury Vale District Council and other authorities opposed to plans for the high-speed rail route from London to Birmingham.

In a recorded vote, the Conservative majority of 57 members voted overwhelmingly against the move, with two abstentions.

Mr Broomfield said: “I am gobsmacked. I do not know anybody in the area that is in favour of it [HS2] in its present form. 51M is looking at different routes, different ideas, not just doing down the HS2 route.” Mr Broomfield fears the decision will put NCC on the fringes of HS2, without a voice.

He added: “51M is having a big impact on what is being discussed and NCC has got 
itself out on a limb. It needs to be looked at in more detail instead of just railroading it through.”

Monday saw the publication of the hybrid bill, a total of 400 pages with an additional 50,000 page environmental statement. Such is the detail of the document the Woodland Trust has employed someone just to read it.

Mr Broomfield complained organisations like Brackley Town Council simply did not have the resources to respond like that. He concluded: “They pretend to be listening to the people, but they are not interested at all. They are just pushing it through whether we like it or not.”