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Ed outlines why he believes the new HS2 route is not suitable and must change.

Doncaster is a railway town.

Historically, we have produced some of the world’s most famous locomotives and soon we will have the National College for High Speed Rail, a result of HS2, which will train thousands of engineers and, I hope, be a door to opportunity for local young people.

Phase one of the HS2 Project runs from London to Birmingham. Phase two will go to Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester. We have always accepted that it wouldn’t be stopping in Doncaster, already better connected than some other places in the region.

We have supported the project because of the opportunities it should create for local people through the college and wider economic development in the City Region, through greater connectivity between South and North, and increased rail capacity.

That wider economic development was created by the line going into Meadowhall. That has always been the plan throughout the project. And our expectation was that this is what would happen.

As many people now know, at the eleventh hour, HS2 have now proposed to shift the HS2 route east to go through my constituency, including Mexborough, and near surrounding villages like Barnburgh, Hickleton, and Hooton Pagnell.

The new proposed route will go slap bang through a new housing estate in Mexborough, and other homes, and it has been heart-breaking to meet those affected over the last few weeks. People moved into their dream homes, and then sometimes within weeks, or even days, were told that HS2 was coming. What’s more, the new route would affect other land in Mexborough that the council had earmarked for housing development.

I am determined to stand up for my constituents who will be affected by these proposals. Standing up for them means working with Mayor Ros Jones, and Doncaster Council, and other neighbouring authorities, to make the best case we can for an alternative.

We continue to believe that Meadowhall was the right economic choice for the whole of the City Region, with its existing rail, tram, road and bus links. And we will make that case: against the new route and for the original plan. We are also going to demand that HS2 look seriously at the alternatives that local people have been putting forward since the route was announced.

Beyond this, we are demanding answers to the genuine questions local people have. About the impacts that construction would have on their lives, and what the eventual result would mean for them in terms of sound and visual impact. About the compensation that would be offered if the route was chosen which must take into account local circumstances, for example the lack of equivalent affordable housing. And about who can actually benefit from the compensation.

It is clear to me that there are many unanswered questions about the route, its impact and the alternatives. I have been meeting local people as well as Doncaster Council and local and parish councillors since the announcement.

I am determined to fight the corner of my constituents. For all the people whose lives have been turned upside down by these proposals. That’s what I will be doing in the weeks and months ahead.

HS2 route must change

Ed outlines why he believes the new HS2 route is not suitable and must change.

I just wanted to update you on further work I have been doing on HS2.

First, I have met Doncaster Council, including Chief Executive Jo Miller, to talk about the case we need to make to Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport, ahead of his November decision.

We were agreed that the current proposals, through Mexborough and villages to the north, needed to be fought against, and that the three-fold case against them should be:

• To return to the original Meadowhall route, which Doncaster Council believes is far better economic value for the area and avoids the disruption;

• For the government to look seriously at the alternatives being suggested, for example an amended route avoiding Mexborough and surrounding villages;

• And for proper answers to the very many legitimate questions local people have about the costs and impacts of the revised route, and compensation.

Doncaster Council will also outline the negative impact of the route on their plans – for example, on new housing developments that won't go ahead, as well as the direct impact on new estates such as the Shimmer estate.

We also agreed we would seek the widest possible support for this case from neighbouring councils, and MPs. I have already been in touch with other MPs affected by the proposed route.

The aim would be to submit our case to government in September/early October, well in advance of the Secretary of State's decision.

Second, I spent an afternoon driving the proposed HS2 route through my constituency with representatives of HS2, to better understand the impacts. It was useful for understanding the deeply problematic and worrying impacts on housing and the countryside.

Once again I made the point to HS2 about the importance of exploring alternative routes and for prompt action in September to provide modelling of the sound and visual impact on local people. Doncaster Council is also pressing this case on HS2.

Third, I attended a meeting of representatives of Parish Councils from surrounding villages affected by the proposals.

It was useful to hear a number of points made and I outlined the steps above and asked for maximum support, which was agreed by the meeting.

Fourth, I have repeated my request for a meeting with Chris Grayling, in advance of the submission from Doncaster Council, so I can make clear the feelings of local people. I will continue to press Mr Grayling for a meeting. 

I will update further as the situation develops.

In the meantime, please let me know if there are others affected who you think could be usefully copied into my regular communications.

Finally, I know what a worrying time this will be for many people and I want to assure you I am doing everything I can working with others to fight your corner.

Update on HS2 work

I just wanted to update you on further work I have been doing on HS2.


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