HS2 IS launching another charm offensive with a wave of consultation events in Rotherham after unveiling fresh plans which have enraged protesters.
The high-speed link team will be in Aston, Hellaby and Mexborough at the end of this month and the start of November to gather views on the building works, demolitions and environmental impact involved in their so-called “M18 route”.
But they have already been warned to expect a hot reception after it emerged three times as many homes as predicted will be bulldozed in Mexborough and residents in Bramley will have to live alongside construction compounds — with all the associated traffic — for almost five years.
Chris Matthewman, of Bramley Action Group, said the installation of eight construction compounds, which will be in place for at least four years and nine months, would be a major headache for residents.
“The impact on Bramley will be catastrophic,” he said.
“Residual impact from construction traffic will also severely impact on Wickersley, Thurcroft, Hellaby, Ravenfield, Maltby, Brampton-en-le-Morthen and all the major roads in those areas.
“How can this be acceptable to the residents of Bramley, who will have to suffer significant noise and vibration from construction activities, daily traffic congestion, and complete loss of their quality of life?
“This cannot be allowed to happen.”
Among the major projects on the Ulley-to-Bramley section are a 512m-long, 19m-high embankment at Brampton-en-le-Morthen, the 640m-long, 22m-high Thurcroft North viaduct, which will cross over the M18 and the realignment of the B6060 Morthen Road, which will move 140m to the south-east to a 1.2km long, 18m-high embankment and bridge.
The Bramley North cutting will be 1.3km in length, up to 21 metres in depth and 160 metres wide as it passes near the M18.
Plans have also changed around Mexborough, where earlier documents showed 19 houses near the River Don would be knocked down to make way for the controversial rail link.
Now the figure is over 60, including 52 from the Shimmer estate.
Mexborough First councillor Sean Gibbons said he thought the final toll would be much higher — possibly even as many as 200.
“HS2 should be deeply ashamed and it is now certainly time for a much over-due public inquiry into this whole ‘white elephant’ and the persistent lies and contempt to local residents, MPs, councillors and local authorities etc by HS2 Ltd throughout the whole process.”
The Ravenfield to Clayton stretch will include 7km of embankments, 2.4km of viaducts and 8.2km of cuttings.
These include the 538m-long, 7m-deep Mexborough cutting, which will be 60 metres wide and an embankment which will be 343m long and 12 metres high.
Consultation events will be held on Tuesday, October 30, at Hellaby Hall Hotel, on Tuesday, November 6, at Aston Hall Hotel and on Thursday, November 8, at Best Western Pastures Plus Hotel, Pastures Road, Mexborough. All events will be held from 2pm to 8pm.
The documents under discussion are the Working Draft Environmental Statement and the Working Draft Equality Impact Assessment Report, which outline between them the infrastructure to be built and its expected impact.
Both, which include maps and plans of the structures involved, can be found at http://www.hs2.org.uk/building-hs2/building-the-line/phase-2b/ and at Mexborough Library.
Consultation on the plans will close on December 21.
HS2 Ltd maintained the rail link would boost the economy, creating 30,000 jobs across its network and South Yorkshire would benefit significantly from the jobs and business growth, with 90 Yorkshire-based companies so far awarded contracts working on the project.
Head of consultation and engagement Leonie Dubois, said: “HS2 is coming to South Yorkshire and the region will reap significant benefits as a result.
“Through the public consultations, we are providing a more detailed account of how we propose to build the railway and minimise its impacts during construction and operation. “We actively encourage people to have their say on the plans we have published today.”