FEATURE: HS2 route plans could be derailed as tensions flare over Dearne line

Residents have clashed as politicians demand that controversial plans to build the HS2 line through the heart of the Dearne are scrapped.

Friday, 5th August 2016, 9:52 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 5:59 pm

Mayor of Doncaster, Ros Jones, is understood to have made her objections to the new HS2 route, which could see 200 homes in Mexborough demolished, known to a board meeting of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership 
Mrs Jones cited concerns that the high-speed line to the Capital would ‘destroy people’s homes, damage communities and impair the town’s ability’ to continue delivering some of the regeneration already taking hold.

Commenting on Mayor Jones’ objections Councillor Sir Steve Houghton CBE, Chair of the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority, said: “All nine LEP local authorities back Government plans to bring High Speed Rail to Sheffield City Region and recognise the benefits that this multi-billion pound project will bring.

“We welcome Government plans to bring High Speed Rail to Sheffield city centre because this option and the potential for a Parkway station would bring significant economic growth and create many jobs in the City Region.

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“However, we recognise that the Government’s new proposals have created significant concerns among areas affected by the proposed line and we understand and respect the Mayor of Doncaster’s decision to ask for alternative station locations to be considered.”

Mr Houghton’s comments come after a scuffle broke out on Monday night as around 300 residents queued to get into the hall at Barnburgh Primary School, which only had capacity for 150 people. 

During the altercation one man was pinned against a wall and another was thrown to the floor. Police were called to the scene shortly afterwards.

Ward councillor Cynthia Ransome was among those who organised the meeting over the plans, which would see the route run through bits of Barnburgh.

“While it was a shame that an altercation took place, it’s completely understandable that residents were feeling frustrated. Barnburgh has beautiful countryside and people do not want to see that ruined.

“The overwhelming majority of people were opposed to it, and we are going to support them.”

But she added: “The fight that broke out didn’t stop the meeting from taking place. I think the capacity was the problem, but people wanted it to be held in Barnburgh but the biggest capacity building was at the hall, which only holds 150.”

An HS2 spokesman said: “We recognise that making sure communities know as much as possible about HS2 – and how it may affect them – is extremely important and understand that people will have concerns.

“Our community engagement on the proposed new route through Yorkshire has seen us speak with more than 3,000 residents at a series of HS2 public information events over the last two weeks.

“We will continue to provide information and answer questions about the proposed route and next steps.”

A second meeting had to be held later the same evening to accommodate the high volume of people attempting to attend the meeting. 

A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said officers were called at 7pm on Monday to a disturbance at the school on Church Lane. 

“It was reported that a significant number of people were trying to enter the premises to attend the meeting which caused some disruption. 

“Upon officers’ arrival, there was a significant number of people at the location but no criminal offences were reported and no arrests were made. 

“A second meeting was held after the first in order to accommodate the large number of people who attended.”

The new HS2 route - which would involve a station at Meadowhall being scrapped in favour of a stop in Sheffield city centre - was announced last month and is also set to go through the Shimmer housing estate in Hillsborough.

If given the go-ahead, around 200 homes on the partially-finished estate could be demolished to make way for the high-speed rail link to London.