'Stop peddling HS2 white elephant' Mexborough councillor Sean Gibbons says on news of review into rail scheme

A Doncaster councillor has hit out at the HS2 'fat cats' for 'continuing to peddle' the multi-billion pound 'white elephant' rail project.

Friday, 23rd August 2019, 12:41 pm
Updated Wednesday, 28th August 2019, 10:52 am
An artist's impression of how HS2 could look

Mexborough councillor Sean Gibbons, who represents the area which is the worst hit by property demolitions to make way for the rail line, welcomed the decision of a government review into the project.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said the government will decision by the end of the year on how to proceed.

HS2 in South Yorkshire has caused massive controversy after Sheffield Council successfully lobbied for the route to be changed from a station at Meadowhall to Midland in the city centre in 2016.

Mexboough Councillors Bev Chapman, Sean Gibbons (centre) 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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But the change enraged people in Mexborough as the new route meant mass demolitions on the newly built Shimmer estate.

Demolitions are also planned along other parts of west Doncaster and parts of Rotherham.

Coun Gibbons said HS2 being cancelled would be massive for the area and called on the money to be spent on improving connectivity more locally.

"The review is very welcome - we've been calling for it for a long time. The last three years have felt like 33 years.

"The way HS2 has treated some people has been nothing sort of shocking. The costs are spiralling in terms of the budget and this is definitely the right thing to do because it's been quoted at over a £100bn which is a shocking overspend.

"The Government has got to do this purely based on the figures and mirror that to the business case. Alongside that, it needs to look at how it's treated residents involved in this process in terms of buying property and them getting a good price for it.

"If it ended up getting scrapped, it would be massive news for Mexborough - we've been living in the shadow of HS2 for a long time.

"We're the hardest hit place in the country on this. People are still being refused mortgages and being offered nil valuations on properties that are 50 metres away from the HS2 line.

"The fat cats just want to keep peddling this white elephant of a project which the majority of the public don't want."

Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said: “HS2 is a vital project to help rebalance the economy and make us more productive, alongside linked interventions including most notably Northern Powerhouse Rail.

"The Northern Powerhouse Partnership will be engaging positively with the review to make the case for why HS2 is so necessary, for cities like Leeds and Manchester, but also for those like Newcastle, Preston and Glasgow, which all benefit from significantly better connections under an integrated plan for a new railway to take city to city traffic off our largely Victorian network which we need for commuters and freight.”