Council refutes claims from Private Eye suggesting Doncaster Mayor knew about HS2 re-route before annoucement

Mayor Ros Jones
Mayor Ros Jones

Doncaster Council has refuted claims made in Private Eye magazine suggesting local authority chiefs including Mayor Ros Jones knew about the HS2 re-route through the borough a week before the official announcement.

When HS2 Ltd announced last month that it was recommending the use of a new route which would run through the borough leading to the possible demolition of 200 properties on a Mexborough housing estate, Doncaster's directly elected mayor, Ros Jones said she was 'shocked and surpsrised by these proposals at this very late date'.

However a column in an edition of Private Eye published today stated that the magazine was informed by a Doncaster Council spokesman that the local authority's chief executive, Jo Miller and the borough's directly-elected mayor Ros Jones 'learned about the route change a week before it was publicly announced'.

This has been denied by Doncaster Council, who have this afternoon said that Mrs Jones and Ms Miller were made aware of the detailed route proposal on the same day as the general public.

A council spokesperson said: “It is not true that either Mayor Ros Jones, Jo Miller or anyone else at Doncaster Council knew details of the proposed HS2 re-route in advance of the announcement.

"Mayor Jones and other Council Leaders were briefed on the HS2 and the National Audit Office report by Sir David Higgins, which was reported in the media, and told to expect an announcement on the revised proposals which was duly made the following week.

"The first time that the Mayor had access to the Higgins report and detailed route proposal was the same day as the general public.”

The new HS2 route - which would involve a station at Meadowhall being scrapped in favour of a stop in Sheffield city centre - was announced on July 7 and is also set to go through the Shimmer housing estate in Hillsborough.

If given the go-ahead, around 200 homes on the partially-finished estate could be demolished to make way for the high-speed rail link to London.