Doncaster MPs back council's '˜devastating document' on HS2 '˜misleading' residents on demolitions

MPs Ed Miliband and Caroline Flint have backed Doncaster Council after they said HS2 had '˜deliberately attempted to underplay the impact' of demolitions across the borough.Â

Friday, 4th January 2019, 3:40 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 12:29 pm
Doncaster North MP Ed Miliband. Picture: Marie Caley/Doncaster Free Press

MPs Ed Miliband and Caroline Flint have backed Doncaster Council after they said HS2 had '˜deliberately attempted to underplay the impact' of demolitions across the borough. 

The council was responding to the Working Draft Environmental Statement, a report compiled by rail chiefs on the loss of properties, jobs, businesses and woodland across the UK due to HS2. 

Mexborough Councillors Bev Chapman, Sean Gibbons and Andy Pickering, pictured on the Shimmer estate with Ian Chapman, Annie Chapman, and anti HS2 campaigner Mick Riley. Picture: Marie Caley/Doncaster Free Press

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HS2 had claimed there would be 16 demolitions on the Shimmer estate in Mexborough but this has since tripled in number, much to the anger of councillors, the mayor and MPs. 

In a joint letter to rail bosses, the MPs said HS2 had '˜severely eroded' the trust of communities and added the current route was the wrong choice'

They also raise concerns about the affects on employment at Denaby and other communities such as Hickleton, Spotbrough, High Melton, Marr and Clayton.  In a letter to constituents, Mr Miliband said Government shouldn't be '˜allowed to hide away' and urged minister Nusrat Ghani to visit residents in Mexborough to hear their views.  

Mr Miliband said: 'Doncaster Council has produced a comprehensive and devastating document which I fully endorse. 

A 2016 protest against the HS2 makes its way up Flash Lane, in Bramley. HS2 campaigners from Doncaster were also in attendance.

'My overwhelming feeling, which I am sure you share, is that HS2 has consistently failed to be straight or come clean with us about the impacts of the route and only now are we slowly getting to the reality and truth.

'We have been misled in particular on the number of demolitions among many other things. It is wrong, disrespectful and has deeply undermined any trust in the organisation.'

A spokesman for HS2 previously said: "We have always been very clear that our early plans for the railway between Birmingham and Leeds would continue to evolve.

'In October we published new information outlining the land required to support construction of the railway and our commitment to minimising the impacts as it travels through Yorkshire. This does represent an increase in the number of properties required and we have always been clear that this would be the case.

Doncaster MP Caroline Flint

'Recognising the unique nature of the Shimmer Estate, the whole development was safeguarded in 2016. This enabled all eligible homeowners to sell their property to the Government and receive compensation over and above the statutory minimum.

'We are committed to supporting individuals impacted by our proposals and our community engagement team in Yorkshire will continue to work closely with residents in Mexborough and the wider Doncaster area. 

'Local people's feedback will help us to design and build the best possible railway, and we have encouraged everyone to have their say and take part in the public consultation.'

An artist's impression of how HS2 could look