HS2: Change of focus

Here is my reply to the report on HS2 (Banbury Guardian, December 5) which referred to the Motion put forward by the UKIP councillors at the Northamptonshire County Council meeting on November 28.

The idea that Northamptonshire County Council is isolated by its position on HS2 is laughable.

First, the majority of members of parliament support HS2.

Secondly, until recently UKIP was an enthusiastic supporter of High Speed Rail and its last parliamentary manifesto argued not for 
one but for three high speed rail networks to be constructed.

This concept was supported with details which are in contradiction to the arguments it now supports.

During the county council by-election for the Middleton Cheney Division on September 5 the UKIP main election address leaflet made no mention of HS2. After knocking on doors they realised their mistake and hastily organized an anti-HS2 meeting at Farthinghoe. Now UKIP have become UFLIP saying anything to obtain votes.

Conservative councillors in south Northamptonshire have been against HS2 from the very beginning on the grounds that the business case is just not robust but they now consider the opposition fight has moved on to new territory.

Royal Assent has already been granted through the parliamentary process and the Conservative councillors think the probability of having to pay thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money to lawyers who are working on behalf of the 51M group instead of repairing pot holes or caring for the elderly would be an absolute folly.

The county councillors in south Northamptonshire, together with Andrea Leadsom MP, will concentrate on lobbying hard to make sure residents adversely affected by HS2 received a much better compensation package including, where appropriate, an extension of the property bond.

As the county councillor for the Middleton Cheney 
Division, I am and always have been totally against HS2.

My Conservative colleagues and I consider HS2 to be an expensive folly and we shall lobby hard for fair compensation and give practical help to our residents who are adversely affected.

If there is anything you wish to raise please do contact me eother by email or on 01869 819669.

Ron Sawbridge

County Councillor for Middleton Cheney Division

County budget: Fight goes on

We should all express our thanks to the parents and staff of our children’s centres for campaigning passionately against proposals for wholesale closures which have now been withdrawn.

We Labour Banbury county councillors are glad to have backed them and to have fought for our election commitment to children’s centres.

However, the fight goes on as there will be review of the centres which will face some reductions in funding and we will engage in that review to ensure the best outcome.

Also, the cuts removed from the centres will need to be found in other areas of Oxfordshire County Council’s budget.

These are cuts no county council wants to make. They are being imposed by a Conservative-led coalition government destroying vital local government services.

The imposed cuts are excessive and unjustified and are damaging the economy when we need targeted investment for growth in both the public and private sectors.

Surinder Dhesi, Mark 
Cherry, Mike Beal, John Christie

Banbury Labour county councillors

More letters in this week’s Banbury Guardian.




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