Future of Yorkshire estate due to be flattened for HS2 remains uncertain

The future of a Yorkshire housing estate which was due to be flattened to make way for HS2 remains uncertain, even though the high-speed rail line will no longer reach the county.

People living on the Shimmer estate in Mexborough were uprooted when the Department for Transport announced in 2017 that 16 homes would need to be bulldozed to make way for HS2.

Some thought the estate would be spared, when the Government published its Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) yesterday and revealed the eastern leg of the high-speed rail line will stop at East Midlands Parkway and not reach Yorkshire.

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But an email seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, shows HS2 Ltd will retain ownership of the properties for the foreseeable future.

People living on the Shimmer estate in Mexborough were uprooted when the Department for Transport announced in 2017 that 16 homes would need to be bulldozed to make way for HS2.

South Yorkshire mayor Dan Jarvis said he is pressing the Government “to clarify the situation” for people on the estate who have faced “massive upheaval”.

In the email, HS2 engagement manager Michael Haughton wrote: “Safeguarding remains in place along the full route, as does access to the range of HS2 property schemes.

“At this time, we do not expect any changes to safeguarding, or to eligibility for these schemes, unless and until different plans are confirmed.

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“The Government will continue to work on the implementation of the IRP and anticipate providing further information as soon as this is available.

“We’re also writing to households and businesses along the line of route informing them of the IRP and what it means for them.”

Three Mexborough councillors, Sean Gibbons, Bev Chapman and Andy Pickering all reacted with anger at the news.

In a statement, they said: “Mexborough councillors are pleased with the decision to finally scrap the HS2 eastern leg which would have resulted in decimation of our town and demolition of over 200 properties.

“All this disruption and pain with no gain whatsoever to Mexborough.

“But we have absolutely no confidence with the so-called HS2 Community Engagement Team and have no confidence in their approach and information provided.”

Mr Jarvis, who is also the MP for Barnsley Central, said: “I will be speaking to ministers, at the earliest available opportunity, to clarify the situation.

“ I recognise that many people have faced massive upheaval over a number of years now without even a single piece of track being laid.

“The least that they deserve is some certainty, so that's what I'll be pressing the government to provide the earliest available opportunity.”

The IRP states the high-speed track will stop at East Midlands Parkway, but HS2 trains will run to Sheffield on an existing line, which will be upgraded, and up to £100m will be spent on an investigation “to look at the most effective way to run HS2 trains to Leeds”.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “The Government has committed to further development work on the most effective way to run HS2 trains to Leeds.

“Safeguarding of the previously proposed route will remain in place and all property acquired will continue to be managed by HS2 Ltd until conclusion of this work.”

Unconfirmed reports suggest that properties which are no longer required for HS2’s construction will be offered back to the former owners at current market value.