HS2 route to destroy homes in Yorkshire, Government reveals

More than a dozen homes in South Yorkshire will need to be demolished to make way for the new HS2 rail line after the Government unveiled the route for the section phase of the £55.7 billion project.

The eastern section of the line, linking Birmingham and Leeds via Sheffield, will go through a newly-built housing estate.

Sixteen properties in Mexborough will be bulldozed to make way for the high-speed railway, the Department for Transport (DfT) said.

Residents will lose their homes because ministers decided the line should serve the existing Sheffield city centre station after proposals to run trains to Meadowhall shopping centre were shelved.

The Western branch of the HS2 line will connect the West Midlands with Manchester via Crewe.

Labour’s Rotherham MP Sarah Champion said she was “furious” because South Yorkshire “won’t get a proper stop”.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling‘s decision on the route from Crewe to Manchester and Birmingham to the East Midlands and Leeds confirms six of the seven changes included in the November consultation.

Mr Grayling decided not to proceed with a proposal to move the line to the east of Measham, Leicestershire.

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The proposed route for the HS2 high speed rail scheme in the north-west, East Midlands and Yorkshire (PA)

The railway will run to the west of the village with a viaduct extended to mitigate the impact on commercial properties.

Meanwhile, Ed Miliband has accused Mr Grayling of a “gross discourtesy” after it emerged the announcement on the final route for HS2 was likely to be “sneaked out” in a written statement.

The former Labour leader was joined by Conservative and Labour MPs in raising points of order in the Commons to voice their displeasure with Mr Grayling.

Earlier on Monday, troubled construction giant Carillion was among firms awarded contracts for the building of phase one of the line.

The deals are worth £6.6 billion in total and will see tunnels, embankments and viaducts constructed between London and Birmingham.

High-speed trains are expected to begin operating between London and Birmingham in 2026.

Mr Grayling said: “This is a hugely important step in the construction of Britain’s new railway and underlines this Government’s determination to deliver an economy that works for all.

“HS2 will deliver vital links between some of our country’s biggest cities, helping to drive economic growth and productivity in the North and Midlands.

“As well as providing desperately needed new seats and better connecting our major cities, HS2 will help re-balance our economy.

“We will now get on with building the railway, while continuing to ensure affected communities get appropriate support and are treated with fairness, compassion and respect.”

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A protest poster near Manchester marks the proposed route (AFP/Getty)

Opponents of the project claim it will run over budget, create havoc during construction and have disastrous environmental consequences.

Joe Rukin, of the Stop HS2 campaign, said: “The case for HS2 has been invented by the very cheerleaders who intend to rake in billions of taxpayers’ money which is desperately needed elsewhere, so it really is time to ditch this gigantic white elephant before it is too late.”

But supporters hope it will reduce the need for environmentally-damaging domestic flights between London and northern cities.

In February, Parliament granted powers to build the first phase of the line, which will see trains travel at high speed between London and Birmingham before running on from Birmingham on the existing West Coast Main Line.

Preparatory work has begun and major construction projects are due to launch in 2018/19.

Services on phase 2a from the West Midlands to Crewe are expected to begin in 2027.

Phase 2b from Crewe to Manchester, and Birmingham to the East Midlands and Leeds, is due to open in 2033.

Press Association

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