HS2 eastern leg: Rother Valley MP Alexander Stafford says decision is 'great news for South Yorkshire'

Rother Valley’s MP has welcomed news that the eastern leg of HS2 may be scrapped.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps will set out a new rail plan on Thursday, where he is expected to announce that the HS2 leg from the Midlands to Leeds will be shelved.

This means the line, which would haved run through South Yorkshire and stopped at Meadowhall, will no longer go ahead.

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Alexander Stafford, Rother Valley’s Conservative MP, welcomed potential plans to do away with the eastern leg, branding HS2 a “monstrosity”.

“This is great news for the people of Rother Valley and all South Yorkshire,” said Mr Stafford.

“When I was elected I pledged to fight the monstrosity of the HS2 2b arm every step of the way.

“It’s great to see the Government listening to what the majority of people want, rather than a tiny group of people with vested interests.

“We can now use this money to properly level up transport in the north, protect our wildlife and homes, and focus on the connectivity we really need.”

Several Doncaster councillors also welcomed the news, having campaigned for justice for a group of homeowners on the Shimmer estate in Mexborough who had to sell their properties to release land for the line.

Mexborough councillor Sean Gibbons - who along with ward colleagues has campaigned to scrap HS2 from the beginning - said they had been ‘vindicated’ but felt ‘distraught’ for those who had to leave their homes as it had ‘all been for nothing’.

Coun Gibbons called on further compensation for those who were forced to leave. Many families bought homes on the estate that were only a few years old.

As of the end of 2020, the Government purchased 75 homes for potential demolition to make way for the line but ward campaigners predicted this could’ve been more than 200 once finalised.

Coun Gibbons said: “We’ll have to wait and see but on one hand I feel vindicated that government ministers have finally listened to many campaigners like us who said from the start this was a massive white elephant and a waste of money bringing questionable improvements to our transport system.

“But on the other hand, It’s sickening for the families on the Shimmer estate who were forced out of their homes for absolutely nothing. What a waste this whole thing has been, it’s only brought anxiety and misery for many who were living there.