UK Construction Media

HS2 Yorkshire route change could see homes bulldozed

News   •   Jul 13, 2016 13:30 BST

The new plans for a HS2 route change through South Yorkshire could see a brand new housing estate bulldozed.

The proposed changes include the high speed rail going through South Yorkshire and the scrapping of a proposed station in Meadowhall in favour of a stop in Sheffield city centre.

The route will run east towards the M18 before rejoining the original route south of the M62. Meanwhile high-speed trains will use existing tracks to access Sheffield, stopping at the city’s Midland station.

If these plans are given the go ahead, people living on the Shimmer estate in Mexborough have been told “some or all of their land” may be required.

Housing developer Strata said it was “shocked” by the news, and was still “digesting the information” on how the changes will affect people living on the estate.

Construction work is still underway at Shimmer estate, with several of the new properties listed as sold.

Chief Executive Andrew Weaver said: “Late yesterday afternoon the Strata team met with advisors from the Department of Transport and representatives for High Speed Two.

“During this meeting we were informed that properties within our Shimmer development, which is based in Mexborough, will be affected by the proposed changes to the HS2 route should this updated plan be approved.

“We are working closely with representatives to understand proposals so that we can be clear on what this may mean for our existing and future home owners… [and] we will be doing all that we can to support them during this time.”

A detailed plan for construction would not be developed until 2020, and would be subject to scrutiny before approval by Parliament.

David Higgins, of HS2 Ltd said: “It’s important that we give them certainty as soon as possible.

“If we can lift the blight from those communities then the quicker the better.

“It’s always the same with any change; some people who were impacted are no longer impacted while those previously not affected will be.

“There are less people impacted by this route, in terms of houses affected, but that’s no consolation for those people.”

It is hoped that the Secretary of State will make a decision on the final route by the end of the year, with the Mr Higgins claiming that the proposed route would save more than £1Bn and result in journey times to London of 79 minutes.

The proposed route would see up to two trains per hour leave the HS2 line near to Clay Cross, in Derbyshire, and join the existing line into Sheffield before rejoining HS2 east of Grimethorpe.

Since plans to build at Meadowhall attracted strong criticism when it was announced in 2013, HS2 now say the Meadowhall site would fail to cut journey times between northern cities, which was a target of the Northern Powerhouse Rail project. HS2 have also said it could create congested roads.

Relocating the station has also allowed planners to re-direct the HS2 line along the M18 before heading north between Rotherham and Doncaster and opens up the possibility of a parkway station being built to “serve the South Yorkshire area as a whole”.

The HS2 report said the new route would be “easiest, result in less overall expected noise impact and be less expensive to build”.