Doncaster Council unanimously pass motion opposing HS2 route through borough

Doncaster Council has unanimously passed a motion opposing a HS2 route through the borough.
Doncaster Council has unanimously passed a motion opposing a HS2 route through the borough.

All of Doncaster's 48 councillors voted through a motion that opposes the proposed new HS2 route through the borough, which could lead the demolition of hundreds of homes, at a meeting held last night.

Put forward by Doncaster's directly elected mayor, Ros Jones, and seconded by Mexborough councillor Andy Pickering, the motion that went before full council last night stated: "This council objects to the new proposals for HS2 in the Sheffield City Region.

"The new proposals put forward by HS2 Ltd will provide fewer train services, reduce job creation, reduce connectivity, damage the environment and have a devastating impact on communities in our borough, in particular the destruction of over 200 homes in Mexborough and the surrounding areas."

Councillors voted unanimously to support the motion.

A number of councillors spoke passionately on the subject, sending the clear message that Doncaster Council was prepared to fight 'tooth and nail' to oppose what Mayor Jones described as 'damaging proposals'.

She said: "My position is that the damage to our area, particularly the devastating impact on the Shimmer estate and its residents, is entirely unacceptable. I will not support any this proposal under any circumstances.

"What makes the situation even more astonishing is that we are being asked to accept this enormous damage and at the same time gain less economic benefit.

"I believe that an appropriate proposal for HS2 in our region could deliver economic growth, create jobs and help improve opportunities, whilst vastly reducing the impact on local residents and communities.

"This proposal does not achieve that aim.

"Regrettably, I am not confident that HS2 Ltd is focused on maximising economic benefits in our region, or minimising the impact on residents. It is clear to me that these new plans were put forward simply to drive forward a project in difficulty and save £1billion from the cost pressures it faces.

"That is being done at the expense of our region. It is unacceptable and we will oppose the proposals."

Mayor Jones says she will now write to both HS2 Ltd and the Government to inform them of Doncaster Council's formal opposition to the new HS2 route through Doncaster.

However she added that she is not opposed to the project of HS2 in general, but is against the 'Yorkshire leg of the route'

Councillor Nigel Ball said he thought the plans needed to be rejected.

He said: "These proposals are half arsed. They were knocked up on the back of a fag packet to save some brass, and they need to be thrown out."

A number of councillors criticised Sheffield Council for supporting the new route, which if given the go-ahead would see a station at Meadowhall axed in favour of one through Sheffield City Centre - something the city's local authority has lobbied for since 2013.

Speaking after the meeting, coun Andy Pickering said: "Sheffield Council have put all this work into getting a station through the city centre, but it's not a route that will provide better connectivity for Sheffield or the Sheffield City Region, we can't understand how it's going to work.

"Doncaster has been sacrificed for this route, and it's not even one that delivers high speed rail in Sheffield. I think the reasons why they're supporting it really need to be looked into properly.

"Mexborough First are prepared to fight tooth and nail to oppose this for our residents."