Fears raised that HS2 minister change could delay compensation agreements in Doncaster

Community leaders fear a Government reshuffle could delay efforts to sort out compensation over HS2 in Doncaster.

Friday, 9th February 2018, 8:10 am
Updated Friday, 9th February 2018, 8:15 am
Paul Maynard

The next HS2 advisory forum, an event drawn up to keep residents involved in the compensation process and how plans for the high speed rail route are developing, is due to be held on February 21. But it is the first since November.

The concerns comes at a time when the Government has changed its rail ministers following Theresa May's cabinet re-shuffle. Nusrat Ghani replaced Paul Maynard as the minister in charge of HS2.

Mr Maynard had brought in the advisory forum meetings after residents told him they were concerned over the information they were getting from HS2, during a visit to Mexborough.

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Sean Gibbons, Doncaster Councillor and member of the forum, said: "There has been a cabinet reshuffle, and I think that has meant another delay.

"I think after the November forum, there should have been another before Christmas, and another for January.

"My concern is that it could take the new minister six months to get her head round it all."

Mexborough is one of the worst affected areas of South Yorkshire by HS2, with the route set to go through the town's Shimmer estate, off Doncaster Road. Some homes will have to be demolished.

Mr Gibbons said around four people had already taken Government money to leave the estate, but said they had to take a financial hit and move to smaller houses. "I know of people taking a 10 per cent hit because of moving," he said.

A DfT spokesperson said: “We are committed to listening to Mexborough residents’ concerns about HS2 and this forum is making good progress on resolving their issues.

“HS2 Ltd continues to support residents through frequent face-to-face meetings, regular written correspondence and a dedicated helpline. HS2 Ltd is also finalising plans for a series of meetings and events in the coming months.”

The DfT said no forum had been scheduled over the Christmas period, and this had been agreed at the November meeting.

The Mexborough Advisory Forum, which includes representatives from the local community, HS2 Ltd, DfT and local stakeholders, has been set up to help homeowners who need support to secure a local comparable home.