Politicians have agreed to contribute a further £50,000 to the 51m group battling HS2, after previously dedicating £100,000 in February.
However, questions were raised at the Aylesbury Vale District Council meeting last night (Wednesday) about how the funds are being spent on fighting the government’s controversial rail plans.
This led to five councillors abstaining from a vote on the funding, with the rest in favour.
Liberal Democrat leader Steven Lambert, who lives close to the proposed line and voted for the funding, still voiced his concerns about contributing more taxpayers’ money to fighting the cause.
He said: “It concerns me we have come back for another £50,000 and we don’t know how the first £100,000 was spent. How much of council tax does this represent? Not all the public are against HS2.”
Councillors Chris Adams, Andy Huxley (both UKIP) and Raj Khan, Avril Davies and Llew Monger (all Lib Dem) all decided to abstain from the vote.
Council leader John Cartwright said: “We have only got one opportunity to fight HS2 and if we do not we will regret it for ourselves and for our children’s sakes. I believe this is a winnable project. The idea of HS2 is too gross to imagine.”
UKIP leader, Mr Adams, caused a stir during the meeting when he stood up wearing a mask of David Cameron’s face, to highlight that nationally the coalition (and Labour) supports HS2. He called for Tory, Lib Dem and Labour councillors to send a statement to the government by resigning.
Mr Monger said: “I would be a lot more comfortable to see what the first £100,000 was spent on. I’m worried the money has gone straight into the pockets of lawyers.
“I’m worried this is going to become an open ended agreement.”
Councillors Michael Beall and Raj Khan also questioned what would happen if a worthy cause in Aylesbury needed funds and the money had been spent battling the London to Birmingham rail link.
Mr Khan said contributing more money to the cause could be ‘reckless’ and end up being ‘dead money’.
However, many Conservative councillors rallied in support of the council.
Councillor Howard Mordue said: “This is not Japan, France or Russia. This is a small country. I think the money will be well spent and support the lives of those affected by this.”
Councillor Alan Ward said that £150,000 ‘is really a drop in the ocean’ compared to the cost of HS2 and the ‘damage it would cause’.
Mr Lambert also tabled an amendment, which was later passed, asking for more officers to be introduced into local forums, so that people could be further educated in an ‘unprejudiced’ way about what HS2 is.