This is what Doncaster community leaders had to say about leaked HS2 review

Mexborough community leaders say they hope ministers will choose to upgrade existing tracks rather demolish homes after a government review was leaked.

Tuesday, 21st January 2020, 5:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st January 2020, 5:05 pm

An inquiry led by former HS2 Ltd chairman Doug Oakervee reportedly found "considerable risk" that the high-speed rail project's cost could rise to up to £106 billion.

His review recommends work on phase 2b of HS2 from the West Midlands to Manchester and Leeds should be paused for six months to investigate if it could be a mix of conventional and high-speed lines, according to the Financial Times.

The review concluded that the government should "on balance" continue with the 250mph railway, subject to "a number of qualifications".

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Residents look at route plans at an HS2 consultation event at Mexborugh Pastures Hotel
Residents look at route plans at an HS2 consultation event at Mexborugh Pastures Hotel

Mexborough First Doncaster Coun Sean Gibbons said: “We don’t want to see the decimation of Mexborough with what we fear could be 200 house demolitions, for no benefit to this area. I think Northern Powerhouse Rail is the better solution, and we’re hoping that is what the government will opt for.

“We’d be happier with them upgrading existing tracks.

“We want to see the blight on this area that HS2 has cast lifted as soon as possible because people have been left in disarray over this for years.”

Mexborough First leader Coun Andy Pickering added: “At the moment you can’t get a train direct from Mexborough or Doncaster to Barnsley. That is the sort of thing we’d like them to look at. It is important that a decision is made quickly.”

Dan Fell, Chief Executive at Doncaster Chamber, said: “The south is not being asked to pick between HS2, projects such as Cross Rail and investment in existing railways. It is not enough to offer the north only some of the pieces of the jigsaw. The north of England needs HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail and transformative regional projects such as a railway station at Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

“Railway engineering is a core part of Doncaster’s economy; endless policy paralysis and reversing previously made decisions will inevitably take its toll on business confidence and investment plans in the sector. This indecision must stop and government must move at pace to deliver its promised investment in the north’s railways.”