‘No to HS3’ say Church Fenton protestors

Anti-HS2 campaigners Susi kakkar with Alan and Edna Small and Jo and Andrew Mason in Church Fenton. Picture: Gerard Binks.
Anti-HS2 campaigners Susi kakkar with Alan and Edna Small and Jo and Andrew Mason in Church Fenton. Picture: Gerard Binks.

Protestors campaigning against HS2 have spoken out against plans for HS3, which have now attracted the support of the Prime Minister.

Church Fenton residents petitioned Parliament earlier this year following fears that the HS2 proposals would cause serious harm to their village.

Now they are fighting against HS3 - a high speed rail line connecting large northern cities like Manchester, Leeds, and Newcastle - which has received the backing of UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne after a report was published setting out the benefit of extensive transport links.

The stop HS2 action group is headed up by Church Fenton Parish Council chair Jo Mason. She said: “HS3 is a bit of a different animal to HS2.

“That said, we don’t support what they have outlined as a high speed line. We would have a great deal of support for improvements in rail services across the North of England and in our area.

“What they are proposing is a shiny new £7b stretch of line and it is not required.

“Instead, put some money in the north. The has been a plan to improve the line that is less than two per cent of what they are suggesting.

“The government has never thought it out. It is a shiny vanity project to stick a ribbon on and we don’t need that. What is required is something much less fancy and we need it now, not in 2032. We require what the country can afford and what the people need.

“You are trying to guess what towns and villages they are going to trash next, and it is criminal to even consider wasting this sort of money.”

The report was produced by Sir David Higgins - chairman of the £50b HS2 network - who predicts that HS3 could cut journey times between Leeds and Manchester from around 55 to between 26 and 34 minutes.

Selby and Ainsty MP Nigel Adams told the Wetherby News the HS3 announcement is a big improvement on HS2.

“When you look at HS2 there were a few fundamental concerns,” he said.

“I am very much in favour of it, but I raised those issues. With HS3 it is clear they have been taken on board.

“What has come out is good news because it does look as if the focus of HS3 is something that is going to provide a much more integrated solution that recognises the economic importance of the North.

“People in Church Fenton were expecting to know the score but because this was a radical rethink they are not going to know the impact for some time and that is unfair, but I think they are going to see a very different impact.”