PROTESTERS have been left devastated after a final decision on the HS2 rail line will send it through housing estates to the east of Rotherham and the heart of the Dearne Valley.
The so-called M18 route has been formally chosen by the Department for Transport (DfT) over the previously preferred option of a line via Meadowhall.
Now, residents in Aston, Bramley, Wales, Mexborough and areas north in the Dearne Valley are set to see their homes demolished despite an angry campaign by residents, MPs and councils.
The route will cut through the new Shimmer estate in Mexborough, which was still being built when the M18 route option was announced last summer.
Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling failed to run up to Parliament this afternoon to announce the decision, to the fury of MPs.
Doncaster North MP Ed Miliband blasted the DfT decision.
He said: “Today’s decision on HS2 is wrong and perverse.
“It flies in the face of evidence, logic, and above all, the economic needs of South Yorkshire.
“The Meadowhall route would be better for jobs, regeneration, journey times, connectivity and for tackling the inequalities we face.
“We now know that the consultation was 15:1 against the M18 route but it has been ignored.”
Chris Matthewman, chair of the Bramley Against HS2 protest group, said: “This is going to be national scandal.
“But can still be stopped. There is a long road ahead as we get into the realms of public consultations and petitions from MPs.”
Sir Kevin Barron MP said: “I am very disappointed that the government has ignored overwhelming evidence to recommend the M18 route for South Yorkshire today.
“The fact that neither the Transport Secretary nor the HS2 Minister turned up today to answer questions regarding the route announcement.
“This tells you all you need to know about their belief in this decision.“