Protesters take Doncaster's HS2 fight to Downing Street

Doncaster campaigners are pictured outside Downing Street before handing in the petitions and letters of objection to HS2.Doncaster campaigners are pictured outside Downing Street before handing in the petitions and letters of objection to HS2.
Doncaster campaigners are pictured outside Downing Street before handing in the petitions and letters of objection to HS2.
Campaigners fighting plans to route the HS2 rail line through Doncaster and the Dearne have taken the fight to Downing Street.

Protesters fighting the proposed route changes to the high speed line through South Yorkshire, which they say will destroy homes, countryside and wildlife habitat and bring no benefits to Doncaster residents or businesses, hand delivered their protest letters to Number 10 on Tuesday.

Over 3,000 people have signed petitions against the proposed route, and 1,400 people have written letters of protest.

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The campaigners represented villagers from Marr, Barnburgh, Harlington, Hickleton, High Melton, Cadeby, Hooton Pagnell, Skelbrooke, Hampole, Sprotbrough, Brodsworth, Clayton, Pickburn, Frickley and Adwick-upon-Dearne.

They have united in the fight against HS2 and they have handed in letters and petitions asking the Prime Minister to support their demand to abandon the M18/Eastern route proposal.

The proposed new HS2 route, announced in July, would go from Bramley in Rotherham, through The Shimmer Estate in Mexborough, before heading out to Barnburgh, Hickleton, Hooton Pagnell, Clayton, Frickley and Crofton in Wakefield if it was to get the go ahead.

Rhonda Job, chairman of the Joint Rural Parishes in the west of Doncaster, said: “We wanted to ensure our Prime Minister was aware of the effects that this proposed route would have on the residents of our villages and on communities at Bramley, Mexborough and beyond. We all felt so strongly, that the government was being asked to make such an important decision on this new route, without being given all of the facts, that we unanimously agreed that it was vital for us to hand- deliver nearly 1,400 letters of protest and over 3,000 signatures on petitions on behalf of our villages, Mexborough and Bramley.

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“We do not believe that the current HS2 proposed route delivers any benefit to Doncaster or to the other affected communities and councils in South and West Yorkshire and we wanted to make this clear to the Prime Minister, Theresa May.”

She added. “The proposed new route will run through areas of countryside that are unsurpassed in South Yorkshire for its natural beauty and affect more than six designated conservation villages along its route. HS2 will destroy people’s homes, threaten wildlife habitats, rivers, woodland and agricultural land. There is also the vast upheaval we will suffer if these proposals go ahead. 

“Our communities are being asked to bear the negative economic, social, financial and environmental impact of this proposal – a proposal that will deliver absolutely no benefit to the residents of Doncaster or indeed the vast majority of people living across South Yorkshire who will no longer be able to access HS2 services yet we are being asked to bear all the pain with no gain.

“We believe HS2 should continue with its original Meadowhall route and with its proposed station, as this development delivers significant economic benefits and is more easily accessible for all residents in South and West Yorkshire.”

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Doncaster Councillor Cynthia Ransome, who represents the rural Doncaster villages affected by the proposals, and who headed to Downing Street with the campaigners, said:“We must do all we can to protect homes, wildlife and to protect our rural farm land and landscape. HS2 will destroy all of these in the areas potentially affected by the high speed rail development.”

A spokesman for HS2 said no decision on the route has yet been made and public consultation will be held to allow communities to have their say. The firm said it was committed to helping the communities through the process.

The decision is expected to be made by transport secretary Nick Grayling in November