'It's Meadowhall or bust' - Doncaster and Rotherham council leaders thrown down gauntlet on South Yorkshire HS2
The leaders of Doncaster and Rotherham councils have publicly backed a plan to bring the HS2 route in South Yorkshire back through Meadowhall or scrap the idea altogether.
Both Doncaster Mayor Ros Jones and Rotherham Council leader Coun Chris Read, have both met Douglas Oakervee, who is leading the HS2 review, and restated their position to go back to the original Meadowhall option or fundamentally reconsider the eastern leg.
The mayor announced they had met Mr Oakervee earlier this month and would provide an update on their meeting.
The original route through South Yorkshire was supposed to stop at Meadowhall. But Sheffield Council, who were unhappy that they didn’t get a city centre station, lobbied government for them to change their mind.
This meant the route was changed and several properties along the Doncaster/Rotherham border including dozens in Mexboorugh are set to be demolished.
Sheffield were granted a city centre station but the line branching off from Chesterfield into the new station is on a so-called ‘spur’ which is slower than the HS2 line.
Mayor Jones and Coun Read have called the Sheffield spur option a ‘second class solution for South Yorkshire.
The leaders are said to be ‘deeply concerned’ at the recent HS2 bill and extending timescale of completing the rail project and the situation was a ‘devastating blow’ for residents and whole communities who will see ‘more properties demolished than originally claimed’.
Mayor Ros Jones said: “Delivering HS2 must not come at the expense of other vital rail investment in the north or measures to protect communities. That would be a betrayal of our region and the Government’s commitment to rebalance the national economy.
“We are set to see mass demolitions to have HS2 pass through our region with negligible beneficial impact for our residents, communities and economy. It’s all pain and no gain.
“Passengers and services in our region are suffering now. We can’t wait another 20 years to deliver much needed rail improvements. We need to go back to the Meadowhall option or seriously look at the planned eastern leg.”
Coun Chris Read, leader of Rotherham Council, said: “The current HS2 proposal offers little or no economic benefit to the Rotherham borough and its businesses.
“We need either a Meadowhall stop or we call on the Government to scrap the development all together rather than build it in a way that will cause years of disruption at massive cost, and instead reallocate the savings to fund essential improvements to regional rail connectivity through the Northern Powerhouse Rail.”