Relief in Yorkshire village where HS2 viaduct would have run along edge of Domesday Book settlement if eastern leg had gone ahead

A Yorkshire parish councillor at the end of the HS2 line said the champagne was on ice ready for the announcement that the eastern leg of the railway will be curtailed.

Church Fenton councillor and anti-HS2 campaigner Andrew Mason said a 15 metre-high viaduct running along the edge of the village would have been a “disaster” for the ancient settlement.

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The village, mentioned in the Domesday Book, was to be on a spur where HS2 would have connected with the existing East Coast Main Line on the way to York.

Church Fenton residents protested against HS2

But now the Birmingham to Leeds route will be axed, to be replaced by more localised improvements.

The government’s Integrated Rail Plan was published on Thursday.

Mr Mason said: “It’s been delightful news. The government is turning round and saying what we have said for eight years - that we can do local improvements.

“Less than three per cent of people use intercity rail - it was a tax to support the rich. It was a gravy train that went just so horribly wrong.

Several residents had to move out of the Sandwith development to make way for the line

“There are people in Church Fenton, Swillington, Oulton, Mexborough, up and down the line, whose lives have been destroyed by this.”

Mr Mason said HS2 was opposed by almost everyone in the village.

He added: “We’re a North Yorkshire rural village that has got open aspects and very little in the way of urbanisation. A 15-metre viaduct travelling for nearly a kilometre would have destroyed the environment.”

Several people had to move out of the new Sandwith development in the village as HS2 would have been right next to their houses.

Church Fenton is mentioned in the Domesday Book

Mr Mason added: “HS2 paid the compensation, those people moved out of those houses, then they got boarded up or weren’ let out - and what was a lovely area then became like the Mary Celeste.”

Richard Musgrave, who represents Church Fenton on Selby Council, said: “Given that the costs for HS2 have risen from £33bn in 2010 to an estimated £106bn today, it’s no surprise that the Government believes it can invest the money more effectively in our rail network. I’m looking forward to reading the Integrated Rail Plan as it should be a central part in making the ‘Levelling Up’ agenda a reality. As always, the devil will be in the detail.

“Locally HS2 would have had a dramatic impact on those residents in places like Church Fenton, Ulleskelf and Bolton Percy who live close to the proposed route. They have lived with a shadow over them for ten years and will be greatly relieved that HS2 isn’t going to proceed.”