Council to spend £300,000 keeping an eye on HS2 work near Banbury in West Northamptonshire

Marshall will have 'feet on the ground' to make sure communities affected by rail line construction are cared for

By Kevin Nicholls
Monday, 24th January 2022, 5:19 pm
Updated Monday, 24th January 2022, 5:20 pm

Councillors have earmarked £300,000 to fund a job keeping an eye on HS2 work in West Northamptonshire.

Over the next three years, an HS2 Marshall will be tasked with ensuring:

■ Communities have a voice and are listened to

Tunnels will take HS2 under three miles of South Northamptonshire countryside

■ Planning conditions are complied with

■ Road closures are properly managed

■ Delivery vehicles follow the correct routes and that heavy deliveries are managed

■ Damage to public property, especially highways, caused by the development is remedied.

HS2 was given the go-ahead despite fierce opposition

The plan, revealed in the authority's draft budget proposals for 2022-23, will be paid for out of the council's reserves although so far only £150,000 for each of the next two years is covered.

A West Northamptonshire spokesman said: "Our members are keen to have feet on the ground, with someone overseeing the development activity and ensuring that appropriate community engagement takes place, enabling issues of concern to the affected communities to be fully addressed."

HS2 between London and the Midlands includes just under 13 miles of track through the south of the county, running through two tunnels and over three viaducts.

Work started in 2020 on the line which runs just north of Brackley and close to a number of villages including Westbury, Radstone, Sulgrave, Chipping Warden, Upper Boddington, Culworth, Whitfield and Greatworth.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson approved the go-ahead despite fierce opposition and the line is expected to be open between 2029 and 2033 and cost between £72billion and £98billion.

Local MP Dame Andrea Leadsom last year admitted she is 'ashamed' of how locals blighted by the HS2 project have been treated.

She added: "We were all promised that no expense would be spared to ensure that our communities and countryside were looked after. How wrong that proved to be."