Hundreds of Mexborough residents turned out last night to oppose a new HS2 route which could see their new homes bulldozed.

It was standing room only at the public meeting in Mexborough Academy – less than two weeks after local people were told they could be affected by a change to the planned HS2 route.

Residents of the Shimmer Estate received a letter saying their houses could be bulldozed to make way for it.

Sue Douglas lives there – she says there’s still shock amongst residents:

“Some of them still can’t believe it. Some don’t really knw what’s happening. There’s a lot of disbelief thinking it will never happen. Fear, despair, worry – it’s shattering.”

Rachael Riddler moved to the estate two years ago with her husband and two young children:

“I would love to say we could stop HS2 but I think in my heart of hearts we probably won’t. I think the best outcome for us will be to fight for a slightly better route that just misses Shimmer.

“There’s been another route suggested tonight that goes more round Conisborough, I don’t want it through our area at all but I think a route that doesn’t knock down so many houses would be preferred.”

People from around the town and beyond turned out to the meeting as well – many of whom were worried about the disruption of building work and noise pollution.

There was some heated debate and disagreement over the best way to try and fight the plans.

Councillor Sean Gibbons was leading the meeting – he says one of the main frustrations is a lack of commnication:

“When people don’t get the right information at the right level, and also when local councillors feel out of the loop, then suspicions start to increase and you start to ask the question ‘who’s in the know? Who knows what?'”

In a statement, HS2 Chairman David Higgings says the impact on communities is something he recognises and takes very seriously:
‘I recognise this will impact those who live along this new M18/Eastern route and create both uncertainty and concern for them and their families.

“I apologise for that. I can only stress that the proposal has not been arrived at lightly. I recognise that those affected will want as much information as soon as possible, both about the actual route and the compensation they will receive.

“That is a legitimate concern and HS2 will work with government to address both points as a matter of urgency.

“I also apologise to those who live along the original Meadowhall route who may not now be affected, but face a further period of uncertainty. We will work with government to clarify the position as soon as possible. Only that will give residents, businesses and local authorities the certainty they need to get on with planning their future.’

A representative from the project wasn’t sent to the meeting last night – a decision which annoyed a lot of residents – but they are being given the opportunity to talk to bosses this afternoon at a seperate event.

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