On behalf of myself and every one of my colleagues in the Joint Rural Parishes (JRP) , which represents the rural Parishes of Hickleton, High Melton, Cadeby, Barnburgh, Harlington, Marr, Hampole, Skelbrooke, Brodsworth, Hooton Pagnell, Moorhouse, Pickburn, Clayton, Frickley, Adwick-on-Dearne and Sprotbrough, we would like to thank you all.
The hard work and effort that Doncaster residents have kindly and most generously given us by supporting our actions against the proposed new High Speed (HS2) rail route through our villages and communities, has just been astounding.
We have done an enormous amount of work over the last 10 weeks but we could not have succeeded without your encouragement, which has made it all possible.
Just look at what you have helped us achieve:-
After the announcement of the proposed new route by HS2 Ltd in July 2016, we arranged a meeting on July 26 with your MP Ed Miliband to discuss this new route option. Prior to this meeting we attended an HS2 Public Meeting on July 19 in Mexborough. Following this public meeting we invited HS2 Ltd to a further meeting in Barnburgh on August 1 to address residents’ concerns and to ask HS2 about the new route in more detail. Numerous meetings were held in various villages around the Sprotbrough ward.
Following these meetings it became apparent that the vast majority of Doncaster people were so appalled at the prospect of this new route that something had to be done to highlight this issue. And so we co-ordinated an on line petition, created a JRP Action Group Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/jointruralparish and a web site here: http://www.stophs2.co.uk/
We asked residents to write or sign letters of objection to the proposed new route as well as signing petitions. We created posters and flyers to inform Doncaster people of HS2’s proposal.
Our group did everything we could to get the message out to everyone in Doncaster through our local press – and we want to say a big thank you to the media too! We even wrote to every parish council within the Doncaster borough to encourage their engagement. A lot of time was spent going “door to door” to inform residents, asking their opinion and for their support, collecting their letters of objection and petition signatures.
After Rotherham Council’s unanimous objection to the new HS2 route, Doncaster also held a full council meeting on September 15, where Doncaster Council voted against the new proposed HS2 route. At this council meeting, the JRP asked Mayor Ros Jones and councillors to sign a letter of objection. We participated at the meeting on September 29 at Mexborough, where the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, MP Ed Miliband along with several councillors reiterated their objection to the proposed new HS2 route through Doncaster.
We engaged and supported other groups, who represented the communities directly affected by this option who also opposed this proposed new route. This included supporting Mexborough and attending a demonstration march at Bramley. We organised the printing and making of placards and banners, which we carried along the route.
All the members of our group worked tirelessly to gather reports and information which might assist us in our endeavours. This was a difficult task as HS2 were reluctant and often refused to release information or reports. Having researched and considered the data, we formulated our written response to the proposed new route.
We attended a further meeting with MP Ed Miliband, ahead of his meeting with Chris Grayling, to hand over a box of nearly 4,500 signed letters and petitions, along with a copy of our response, to give to Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Transport.
Finally, we believed that this issue was so important and crucial to Doncaster’s future that we collected signed resident letters and petitions of objection, together with our response and addressed them to the Prime Minister.
So on October 18 we knocked on the door at 10 Downing Street and hand-delivered them ourselves.
As we await a reply from PM Theresa May, Doncaster awaits a decision from Chris Grayling MP.
Let’s hope they are listening to Doncaster, this route is not an option.
Chair, The Joint Rural Parishes Action Group