Another week, another bit of HS2-shaming. The latest is that the proposed new phase 2 route for the high-speed line would cut through a South Yorkshire housing estate that’s so new it’s not even been finished yet.
The £30 million Shimmer estate in Mexborough has been under construction since 2011, and is expected to be complete by June 2017. However, if fresh plans to direct HS2 to Sheffield Midland station -- the Meadowhall Shopping Centre plans have now been scrapped -- are approved, the estate, or at least part of it, would need to be demolished almost right away.
Around 400 residents reportedly received letters from HS2 Ltd this week, saying that the government would offer them the market value of their house, plus 10% and “reasonable moving costs” if they got the go-ahead.
“As you can imagine, we are still trying to digest this information and there are still a number of questions that we are waiting to be answered,” said Andrew Weaver, the rather surprised chief executive of the site’s developer, Strata. “However, we are working closely with representatives to understand proposals, so that we can be clear on what this may mean for our existing and future homeowners.”
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin will make a final decision later this year, but HS2 Ltd is keen to get a verdict as soon as possible. “If we can lift the blight from those communities then the quicker the better,” said David Higgins. “It’s always the same with any change: some people who were impacted are no longer impacted while those previously not affected will be.”
The previous plan could have cost up to £1 billion though, so I guess this is sort of a good thing in comparison. [Guardian]