BUSINESSES and homes which could be 'blighted' by HS2 plans will have to wait until autumn to find out if the Government will change its mind on a £1 billion spur line.

Transport minister Robert Goodwill also admitted in a debate at Parliament on Tuesday that plans for the Wigan spur, which would cut through villages in east Warrington, might be obsolete if a Scottish link goes via the east coast.

He added: "Let me be clear. No decisions have yet been taken on the route or station options. The Secretary of State has committed to respond to the phase two consultation by the end of the year, and that remains his intention. He will make an announcement in the autumn."

The debate questioning the need for the £1 billion route which would cut through Hollins Green, Rixton, Glazebrook and Culcheth was called by Helen Jones MP and backed up by David Mowat MP .

Warrington North MP Helen Jones said: "This route will inflict huge disturbance and environmental damage on my constituency. It is already inflicting housing blight and it will, I believe, lead to economic damage in the villages affected, rather than prosperity."

Mrs Jones praised work done by Alan Debenham, Culcheth and District Rail Action Group and the Rixton-with-Glazebrook HS2 Action Group to di-sect the figures.

The Labour MP also spoke of the estimated £10.2 million economic loss to Culcheth as Taylor Business Park would close.

"Most serious of all is the blight on property that is now affecting the villages," added Mrs Jones. "In Rixton-with-Glazebrook, 505 properties will be within 500 metres of the line. If the Minister knows anyone who wants to buy a house in a village with a great big viaduct going through it, I am sure that people will be delighted to hear from him."

Warrington South MP David Mowat added: "I am not here as a nimby and nor is Helen Jones. If there was a purpose in the line scything through our constituencies—her constituency in particular—we could have a more balanced discussion.

"However, try as I might, I cannot find the benefit of that spur to Warrington or anywhere else in the country."

He questioned the need of the spur in light of potential for a connection to Scotland to be made through the east coast and the addition of a depot on that route which he argued could be placed elsewhere.

"In summary, this is a good news debate," he concluded. "Because I believe that I have found a way of saving the Government £1 billion. We will come in with an under-run on HS2 and we will all be heroes, and my colleague and I can go back to Warrington happy."