“Devil will be in the detail” of Network North scheme, says Doncaster mayor
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Last week, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that the northern leg of the long-awaited HS2 railway scheme would be scrapped and replaced with a series of transport improvements known as Network North.
In South Yorkshire, projects listed as part of the new scheme included reopening the Don Valley railway line and a bypass on the A635 between Hickleton and Marr following several accidents in the area.
She said: “My views on HS2 are well documented, sadly for communities in Mexborough, Conisbrough and Denaby it could be at least another year before safeguarding of the previously cancelled eastern-leg route through Doncaster is lifted, this will be to review any safeguarding needed for Northern Powerhouse Rail.
“There is currently very little detail around the ‘Network North’ proposals, I would expect more information to be released in the coming months and years around the detail of the funding and schemes.
“The increased investment for Doncaster and South Yorkshire is of course welcome. The vast majority of this extra funding is scheduled for delivery between 2027-2032.
“This new money cannot be used in our efforts to save and reopen our airport, however, it could provide additional investment for transport links to our airport once re-opened.
“As part of the ‘Network North’ proposals, there is the mention of ‘A1-A19 Hickleton bypass’. This sounds positive as I have been lobbying for a bypass for Hickleton and Marr since I first became Mayor in 2013. However, we must wait until we see the details of the potential funding as the A1–A19 link road is a separate scheme to the Hickleton bypass.
“There was no mention of the upgrades to the A1(M) Doncaster bypass which has been promised since 2010. There was also no mention of the upgrades promised for the East Coast Mainline.
“I will lobby to ensure that Doncaster receives its fair share of funding from the ‘Network North’ proposals, but we need to be realistic in that these are long-term proposals for the next 10 years. The devil will of course be in the detail.”
The announcement comes after a previous proposed north eastern leg of HS2 which would travel through parts of Doncaster was also scrapped.
Mayor Jones had opposed the route after several residents in Mexborough were forced to sell their homes to allow them to be demolished.
Councillors for local party Mexborough First stated that they were”delighted” over the announcement that HS2 would be scrapped in the north entirely, after protesting its route.
Doncaster MP Nick Fletcher has also praised the announcement of the new scheme.
Despite the closure of Doncaster Sheffield Airport not being mentioned in Network North plans, he stated that the announcement was “fabulous news” in the journey to reopen it.
The council continues to be in the process of finding an investor to create a leasehold agreement with airport owners Peel Group in order to reopen the site.