IN SATURDAY’S Oxford Mail, we reported that councillors at Cherwell District Council had rejected plans to spend £14,000 opposing part of the HS2 rail link scheme.
That was incorrect. The council, on the back of votes from the Conservatives, Liberal Democrat and Independent councillors, passed a resolution to spend the money petitioning to get the Government to alter its construction plans because of the effect on Banbury.
Council leader Barry Wood said councillors sat “in stunned silence” after being told that the town’s M40 junction and Hennef Way would be major log-jam points if construction of the high-speed train linking London to Birmingham was started.
Construction traffic would use the A423 Southam Road, the A361 Daventry Road and B4525 through Middleton Cheney, and Banbury would face “gridlock for years”, he said.
Cherwell opposes HS2 and had £14,000 unspent from its war chest over the scheme and so voted to use the money to petition the Government to come up with alternate routing for construction traffic to protect Banbury.
Mr Wood said: “HS2 runs through part of the Cherwell district. There is going to be a really big impact and congestion in Banbury.”
He criticised Labour for opposing the motion, but opposition leader Sean Woodcock said: “Labour agrees with the assessment of officers that this infrastructure project will have an impact on Cherwell. But the value in petitioning is unclear as this impact is not yet known.”