Recently unveiled plans to re-route HS2 through the Dearne Valley were met with a very mixed reaction.
The move, which is set to shave £1billion off the estimated £90billion construction costs, delighted Sheffield residents and council leaders who said that the move would also bring 6,500 jobs to the city and create a £5billion boost for the local economy.
Sir Nigel Knowles, chair of Sheffield City Region LEP, said: “HS2 is a vital investment in the Sheffield City Region’s future….connectivity with the rest of the UK is a major factor in achieving our growth plans.”
Meanwhile, Doncaster Council, residents of the villages that will now be affected and the 212 families living on the newly built housing estate earmarked for demolition, are all far from happy.
Doncaster’s elected major, Ros Jones, who said she recognises the benefits of HS2 added that she would fight to make sure that the town “does not lose out as a result of the decision.”
The families living on the Shimmer development at Mexborough, which is still under construct ion, were told about the plans in a hand delivered letter. They will be paid full market value for their homes plus 10% by way of compensation. However, the plans will not go before government until the autumn, making it impossible for anyone to sell in the meantime. Residents who choose not to sell voluntarily will likely be faced with compulsory purchase orders and the option of having their cases heard at a Public Inquiry at which a Planning Inspector will hear all of the evidence.
HS2 chairman, David Higgins commented: “Decisions of this scale sometimes involve compromise, and through dialogue, I believe we have reached the best solution for South Yorkshire.”
He said he hoped there would be a decision on the final route by the end of the year so that those affected could gain “certainty as soon as possible”. The proposals could however be delayed, changed or even prevented if for example legal challenges are brought, most likely by judicial review.
A detailed construction plan will not be developed until 2020 at the earliest. That would then be subject to detailed scrutiny by the government.
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