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.