York & North Yorkshire

Church Fenton villagers feel 'mugged' over HS2

The railway line running south from Church Fenton
The preferred route would take high-speed trains to Church Fenton, about 10 miles (16km) from York

Villagers living near the end of the planned HS2 high-speed rail line claim they have been "mugged" by the project.

The main HS2 route from Birmingham will join the existing rail network, at Church Fenton, North Yorkshire.

Around 250 residents, worried about the line's impact on property prices, attended a meeting in the village on Monday to oppose the plan.

HS2 officials said the route was designed to minimise impact and consultations would continue.

Draft plans to extend the HS2 line to the north of England were announced by the government at the end of January.

'Robbed or burgled'

Andrew Mason, chairman of the parish council, said: "We are passionate about our rural community. We believe in a green and pleasant land and we will fight for it."

Resident Steve Johnson said: "I think it is hard to comprehend how noisy this thing will be and how intrusive it will be."

People attending the meeting said the line would "wipe out" the value of their homes.

Jo Mason, a parish councillor, said: "I feel like someone has come into my house, mugged me and stolen all my money. I think a lot of people in the village feel they have been robbed or burgled."

Ian Jordan, HS2 Ltd director for Leeds, Manchester and Heathrow, said the line would bring major economic benefits and public consultations on the route would start later this year.

"This will give everyone a chance to have their say before any decision is taken on where the line will finally run. Wherever practicable, the proposed route has been designed to minimise potential impacts on people and properties," he added.

Mr Jordan said HS2 Ltd and the government would work closely with the communities affected.

A final route for phase two is expected to be chosen by the end of 2014, with construction expected to start in the middle of the middle of the next decade.

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