Campaigners gathered to demand compensation for losses they fear they will suffer from the new HS2 rail network - just as the Government announced its intentions to “squeeze every penny” of economic benefit out of the multi-billion pound project.
Residents in and near Woodlesford fear the high speed train - which would pass yards from their homes - could reduce the value of their homes by up to £40,000, as well as bringing additional flooding danger from the possible relocation of a nearby canal.
They are urging councillors to push for an alternative route, which they say will be less damaging to locals.
Around 20 campaigners gathered outside Leeds Civic Hall to lobby councillors, before presenting a deputation to the chamber.
James Lynch, chairman of the So What campaign group, which represents around 300 households in Swillington, Oulton and Woodlesford, said: “We are here to ask that they support an alternative route, which will be tunnels following existing transport corridors, but will blight far less people than the current proposals. We also want the council to give their commitment to obtaining full and fair compensation for anyone who is blighted by HS2.”
The Government announced yesterday that further changes could be made to the controversial plans for the high-speed HS2 rail network, as a new study concluded it would be worth £15 billion a year by 2037. Research by consultants KPMG concluded that the proposed high-speed line linking London with Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham could bring up to £1bn of economic benefits a year to West Yorkshire.
MPs had earlier issued a scathing report on the scheme, warning that the apparent benefits were dwindling as the costs soared.