HIGH speed rail firm HS2 has admitted that it does not know how many business premises will be affected by either of its possible route options through South Yorkshire.
The firm — which wants to build a controversial line from Aston and Bramley up to the Dearne Valley, the so-called M18 route — has revealed it does not have figures for the number of properties within 60 metres and 100 metres of the proposed route.
It also could not say how many homes would have been affected by the former proposed route through Meadowhall which was controversially dropped last summer.
A Freedom of Information request — sent by a member of the Bramley HS2 Action Group — was put in to HS2 asking for the number of business, commercial and industrial properties which would be impacted within 60 metres and 100 metres of both options for the rail line between Tibshelf near Chesterfield and Woodlesford near Leeds.
But the answer came back from HS2 saying: “I can confirm that we do not hold the information in relation to your request.”
HS2 added that under law it does not have to source the information in response to a Freedom of Information request if it does not already possess it.
Chris Matthewman, chair of the Bramley HS2 Action Group, said he was surprised by the revelation.
He said: “If this is the case, how can HS2 apportion any reliable costs to the M18 route and offer any factual comparison between the two routes?
“If they do actually possess the data, one can only presume that they are withholding the information due to the fact that the commercial property impacts on the M18 route are far greater than they are claiming, as is the case for residential property impacts.
“Either way, it is totally unacceptable from an organisation that is funded by the taxpayer.
“Clearly HS2 are covering up the real impact on businesses across the region.
“How many business owners along the route have no idea that their business premises may be demolished?”