Unite and get behind controversial high speed rail plans, say Doncaster business leaders

Doncaster business leaders believe it is time to unite and get behind controversial high speed rail plans.

Monday, 7th September 2020, 4:45 pm

The Government confirmed on Friday it was starting work on the first phase of the HS2 scheme, which has caused anger in Doncaster due to its proposed route which will see homes in Mexborough demolished.

But Doncaster chamber of commerce chief executive Dan Fell said: “Whilst HS2 will not come through South Yorkshire in the way that the Chamber would have preferred, it is clear that the project will deliver benefits to the region’s businesses beyond just connectivity.

“HS2 will create significant supply chain opportunities that will benefit our rail engineering community and businesses in a vast range of sectors. Also, as result of the National College for Advanced Transport and Infrastructure and Doncaster UTC, Doncaster’s young people and residents will be well placed to access the 22,000 jobs being created by HS2 including highly skilled roles in the construction and engineering sectors.

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Artists impression of HS2 route

“The Chamber is well aware of the rancour that HS2 has caused our region and, of course, hugely sympathetic to the communities affected by blight that have not been supported as well as they might have been by HS2 Ltd the company. However, given the scale of the economic challenges ahead of us all, it is now time for our region to unite and ensure that our businesses and residents reap the benefits of the HS2 project.”

Doncaster Mayor Ros Jones, said Doncaster Council always supported the principle of HS2 but there was still uncertainty around the Phase 2B route, through Mexborough, which she still believed was the wrong solution for South Yorkshire.

She said: "It will have a devastating impact on our communities, tear up our landscape, limit our economic potential and cap the future growth of our rail services in our region."In Doncaster we are still waiting to hear about the Phase 2 review which offered the opportunity to revisit the planned route and go back to the Meadowhall route. This would be far more beneficial for Doncaster and mean fewer demolitions.“While we continue to wait, the Shimmer Estate residents in Mexborough still face uncertainty about their properties. I feel for these residents whose lives have been tormented by HS2 for many years now and are still no clearer on what lies ahead.“It will be decades before we see HS2 and much needed new rail schemes open.

“The Government must support projects that can be on the ground quickly and deliver real benefits for our residents, businesses and the economy. We simply can’t wait another 20 years to see improvements in South Yorkshire and the north.“That means delivering the East Coast Mainline station at Doncaster Sheffield Airport. This will provide the equivalent number of new jobs and economic growth for South Yorkshire as HS2 and what’s more it can be open in five years.“The Government also needs to invest in the existing network across Doncaster and the north and fund vital upgrades to the East Coast Mainline, local and regional railway lines and at railway stations across Doncaster to improve reliability and capacity of services.”

The HS2 consultation event at Mexborugh Pastures Hotel

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