Villagers 'reeling' over HS2 plans

News Shopper: Residents in Church Fenton are having a meeting to discuss the HS2 plans Residents in Church Fenton are having a meeting to discuss the HS2 plans

Villagers living close to the most northerly end of the proposed HS2 high-speed rail link say they feel like they have been "hit over the head and mugged".

Church Fenton, in North Yorkshire, has been identified as where a spur from the main HS2 route from Birmingham to Leeds will intersect with the existing rail network and link to York.

People living in the area are meeting on Monday night to plan their response to the shock proposals which, they say, came as a complete surprise when they were unveiled last week.

Parish councillor Jo Mason thinks they will be united in their opposition after revealing she has been inundated with people who are worried and angry by what is proposed for Church Fenton.

"The village is reeling," she said. "We've been hit over the head and mugged. We can't see who it's going to benefit. People don't want it."

Mrs Mason said advice villagers have had from estate agents is that property prices will be hit for a considerable distance from the proposed line. Those living closest will find their homes unsellable, she said.

The Government announced draft plans to extend the HS2 line to the north of England a week ago.

Prime Minister David Cameron said extending the already-planned London to Birmingham HS2 line as far as Manchester and Leeds would "spread wealth and prosperity" around the country.

The second phase of HS2 envisages five stops on a 211-mile Y-shaped extension northwards from Birmingham - scheduled to be completed in 2032, six years after the first phase. Officials say the £32.7 billion project will create at least 100,000 jobs and slash journey times.

The move was widely welcomed by businesses, which called on the Government to follow it up with funding for further infrastructure links within the regions.

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