MP Ed Miliband to fight minister's decision to route HS2 through Doncaster countryside


Doncaster MP Ed Miliband plans to fight the plans to route HS2 through Doncaster countryside after the transport secretary confirmed the scheme.

The Government has announced its planned route - with a spur leaving the main line just before Chesterfield, and then going through Sheffield city centre, before linking back with the main route further north.

The main high speed line will go through the Dearne Valley, meaning 16 houses in the Shimmer estate in Mexborough will have to be demolished.

Doncaster North MP Ed Miliband, whose constituency includes the Mexborough which faces demolitions of homes, said: "Today's decision on HS2 is wrong and perverse. It flies in the face of evidence, logic, and above all, the economic needs of South Yorkshire.

"The Meadowhall route would be better for jobs, regeneration, journey times, connectivity and for tackling the inequalities we face.

"We now know that the consultation was 15:1 against the M18 route but it has been ignored.

"The government and HS2 should be ashamed about the way they have gone about this decision. Their arguments do not add up, the consultation was a sham, and the residents have been ignored.

"Chris Grayling has added insult to injury by failing to come to the House of Commons to justify his decision and trying to sneak out a written statement. I will be seeking to force him to come and explain himself tomorrow.

"While this decision is obviously a bitter blow, I will continue to explore all the ways to overturn this decision and work with residents to do that. I will do everything I can to get the best outcome for my constituents.

"I will keep fighting for my constituents against a government and HS2 that seek to ride roughshod over them."

The plan backed by transport secretary Mr Grayling will see a southern spur off the main high speed line to provide a dedicated link towards the existing Midland Main Line south of Chesterfield, enabling high speed trains from London to serve Sheffield city centre and Chesterfield.

The route would then run adjacent to the M18 immediately west of Bramley and then descend into the valley across the River Dearne, passing between Conisbrough and Mexborough. It then heads north, running east of Barnburgh and Hickleton and between Thurnscoe and South Kirby.

Confirming the news in a document presented today, the Department for Transport stated: "The route in South Yorkshire will be the route consulted in 2016 which in part follows the M1 and M18, serves Sheffield City Centre via a spur from the HS2 line and includes provision for a northern junction allowing trains to run between Sheffield and Leeds city centres using HS2."

The Government says the route will be cheaper than the alternative route which had originally proposed, which would have gone via Meadowhall and had been favoured by Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham's politicians.

Reaction to the news has been split between Sheffield and the rest of South Yorkshire, with senior figures in Sheffield welcoming the announcement, and those in the rest of the county critical of the move.

Rother Valley MP Sir Kevin Barron MP said: “I am very disappointed that the Government has ignored overwhelming evidence to recommend the M18 route for South Yorkshire today. The fact that neither the Transport Secretary nor the HS2 Minister turned up today to answer questions regarding the route announcement. This tells you all you need to know about their belief in this decision.

"The proposed route will result in slower journey times, fewer, smaller trains and will not provide the economic benefits to the wider region in comparison to the previous Meadowhall option. I will continue to fight this decision as it will ruin homes and businesses across large parts of Rother Valley.”

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: "We will now press ahead with building the line, while continuing to ensure affected communities get appropriate support and are treated with fairness, compassion and respect."