Anger over HS2 email suggesting Mexborough's Shimmer estate in not yet safe from demolition

Mexborough’s Shimmer estate is still at risk of demolition after all as HS2 bosses said the axed route through South Yorkshire was being ‘safeguarded’.

Friday, 19th November 2021, 1:25 pm
Councillors Andy Pickering, Sean Gibbons and Bev Chapman at the Shimmer estate which remains under threat of demolition despite the cancellation of the HS2 project

It comes following the announcement from the Government that HS2 from Birmingham through the East Midlands, South Yorkshire and onto Leeds, will be scrapped to save money.

It was thought that the Shimmer estate could’ve been spared following the announcement. There was anger from ward councillors and MP Ed Miliband over how dozens of families were forced to leave their homes only for it to be in vain.

But in an email seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, HS2 engagement manager Michael Haughton suggested that the route could still see track being laid on it.

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He said: “Safeguarding remains in place along the full route, as does access to the range of HS2 property schemes. At this time, we do not expect any changes to safeguarding, or to eligibility for these schemes, unless and until different plans are confirmed.

“The Government will continue to work on the implementation of the Integrated Rail Plan and anticipate providing further information as soon as this is available. We’re also writing to households and businesses along the line of route informing them of the IRP and what it means for them.

All three Mexborough councillors, Sean Gibbons, Bev Chapman and Andy Pickering all reacted with anger at the news.

In a statement, they said: “Mexborough councillors are pleased with the decision to finally scrap the HS2 eastern leg which would have resulted in decimation of our town and demolition of over 200 properties. All this disruption and pain with no gain whatsoever to Mexborough.

“But we have absolutely no confidence with the so-called ‘HS2 Community Engagement Team’ and have no confidence in their approach and information provided.

“The latest HS2 announcement by the government still has serious consequences for our residents and surrounding areas and we will press for the safeguarding to be lifted locally as an urgent priority.

“A number of residents have contacted us this week to highlight their current and ongoing pain and distress with the latest HS2 announcement and the turmoil and financial loss they have suffered as a result. Legal action is currently being considered.”

Mayor Ros Jones, addressing a meeting of the full council, also raised concerns around the continued ‘safeguarding’ of the previous HS2 line through Mexborough and the ministers were still looking at sending high speed services up to Leeds.

“Despite the headlines, I should make clear to this council that the Government is still committed to looking at options on how best to take HS2 services to Leeds.

“As a consequence, safeguarding of the previously proposed high speed route north of East Midlands Parkway will remain in place, pending conclusion of this work.

“That does not give certainty to our residents and businesses. In the short to medium term it continues to leave people facing an uncertain future. In my view, this is not acceptable and our position on the previous HS2 route has of course not changed.”