Doncaster mayor Ros Jones has launched a blistering attack on HS2 bosses over the ‘deliberate and calculated attempt to underplay the impact’ of demolitions across the borough. The mayor was responding to the Working Draft Environmental Statement, a report compiled by HS2 chiefs on the loss of properties, jobs, businesses and woodland across the UK.

Mayor Jones also said the ‘drip feed’ of information on the demolitions on Mexborough’s Shimmer estate showed ‘utter contempt’ to residents. She also criticised the 170 projected job losses and called it ‘wholly unacceptable’. Previously, HS2 bosses said 19 Doncaster homes were to be pulled down – the majority on the Shimmer estate to make way for a railway viaduct crossing over the River Don. But this turned out to be over 50 which prompted a furious reaction from Mexborough councillors.

Ros Jones attacks HS2

Mexboough councillors Bev Chapman, Sean Gibbons and Andy Pickering, pictured on the Shimmer Estate with Ian Chapman, Annie Chapman, 14 months and Anti HS2 campaigner Mick Riley. Picture: Marie Caley/Doncaster Free Press

Council bosses called HS2’s document ‘misleading’ and it ‘deplores attempts to underplay the impact of the proposed scheme on residents, businesses and the economy’. The response also calls on HS2 to give a ‘considerable amount of further explanation to give a fair representation of the truth.

Doncaster Council said it considers the lengths of diversions of public rights of way and the loss of amenity as ‘unacceptable’. Bosses also said the permanent closure of Red Hill Lane ‘will be challenged through Select Committee, if necessary’. The response also adds ‘a minimum 40 per cent increase’ in land take at Clayton Junction over what could have been anticipated at the HS2 Route Consultation stage. The council called on HS2 Limited to construct a physical three dimensional model of the junction to help people to understand the ‘massive impact the junction will have on Clayton and the surrounding landscape’.

Mayor Jones said: “The ‘drip feed’ approach to stating the impacts on the Shimmer Estate in Mexborough shows utter contempt for the residents whose lives are affected. HS2 Limited has missed another opportunity to come clean over the real impacts of HS2 on Shimmer residents.

“This is a deliberate and calculated attempt to underplay the impacts of HS2 and an urgent review is needed if we are to restore public confidence that the scheme does offer value for money for UK plc. “In light of rumoured spiralling costs, the increasing impacts on residential property and the growing effects on business and employment, the government needs to step in and review what is going on with HS2. “We consider the estimate of 170 local job losses arising from the proposed scheme is wholly unacceptable, given that most of these will occur in areas of greatest deprivation. “We are appalled by the approach of HS2 and a thorough investigation is now essential.”

HS2 has been contacted for a comment.

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