Leeds & West Yorkshire

HS2: Mexborough residents remain 'horribly uncertain'

Construction of the Shimmer estate in Mexborough - photo taken November 2016
Image caption Parts of the Shimmer estate in Mexborough are still under construction

Residents on a new estate threatened with demolition by HS2 say their future remains "horribly uncertain" after the government's latest announcements.

The South Yorkshire route is still under consultation but one option includes cutting through the Shimmer estate in Mexborough near Doncaster.

The government said a decision would not be made until next year.

Elsewhere, a kilometre-long (0.6-mile) tunnel will be dug under Woodlesford in West Yorkshire.

Originally it was planned to put an HS2 stop for Sheffield at the Meadowhall shopping centre, but opponents said that was too far out of the city centre.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The government is consulting over whether the HS2 station should be in Sheffield, which could affect the Shimmer estate in Mexborough

'More turmoil'

A second option would use the existing city centre station but that would mean laying new track through the Shimmer estate, the construction of which only began a few years ago.

Russell Holmes from the estate said: "The uncertainty of pretty much knowing it's going to be destroyed but not being able to do anything in the meantime, waiting until it happens, waiting for a decision as to when you can actually put something in place to move or whatever, is horrible."

Resident Rachel Ridler said: "For people who love this community who wanted to build their life here, it's more waiting, it's more turmoil.

Image copyright Geograph/Paul Glazzard
Image caption HS2 Ltd said a kilometre-long tunnel will be built beneath the West Yorkshire village of Woodlesford, rather than to the north along the River Aire

"I love my house, I love my neighbours, I love my community and I'd hate to be the first person to jump ship then find out they've actually found a way around the estate.

"So I think we'll be here another few years yet."

Rother Valley MP, Kevin Barron, said he would "continue to fight" for the South Yorkshire station to be at Meadowhall with the second option being a "deeply unpopular plan which will ruin villages the length of Yorkshire".

Woodlesford and Crofton

In Woodlesford, where the high speed rail line was originally proposed to run north of the village along the River Aire, the mood is more positive.

Resident and campaigner James Lynch said the tunnel plan "sounds better than a massive viaduct".

He said: "We haven't seen the actual plans, there's still more uncertainty but that's the nature of the beast with HS2.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The second Y-shaped phase of HS2 into Yorkshire, the north-west and beyond, is due to be completed by 2032-33

"We had various objections, the plans for Woodlesford were too disruptive for local residents."

For Crofton near Wakefield, HS2 Ltd is "working up a number of options".

Campaigners had complained that the village would be encircled by railway lines.

Andrew Jones, MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough and minister for HS2, said: "Crofton will be changed by the the new [M18] alignment, but we're still working up those options."

He said consultation on that would begin in 2017.

Paul Sandham, from Crofton Against HS2, lives within 60m of the proposed line.

He said the scheme would "blight" both sides of the village and his campaign group would be "seeking a legal challenge to the two routes".

He said: "It feels appalling, the history of HS2 in this area is one long catalogue of misinformation."

Transport secretary Chris Grayling said in the House of Commons that the route announcement was a "huge commitment to the Midlands and the north".

However, he said he would propose "substantial refinements" for the route through South Yorkshire, including public consultation, before reaching a decision next year.

Image caption Andy McDonald said in the House of Commons that Labour welcomed the "partial" announcement but said significant details of the route had been "dodged" by the government

Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said significant details of the route had been "dodged" by the government.

He said it was "imperative" that the voices of affected communities - particularly those in South Yorkshire - were heard.

Sheffield City Council has supported a station in the city centre.

The council said: "Numerous studies demonstrate that stations located in city centres drive more jobs and growth and we know that this will bring much bigger economic benefits not just to Sheffield but to the whole city region.

"We also believe a city centre location is essential for the development of future HS3 connectivity between cities in the north."

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