HS2 set to devastate South Yorkshire neighbourhood

More than 130 families living on the Shimmer estate in Mexborough, South Yorkshire, may have to leave their homes after the government decided that the HS2 train line should go right through their neighbourhood. Some only moved in days before the route was proposed.

They are among 540 homeowners within 100 metres of the new Yorkshire leg of the line who potentially face being forced out of their homes, according to research by the Yorkshire HS2 action groups, who oppose the route.

The campaigners argue that an earlier proposal, which would have seen the line go to Meadowhall shopping centre, north-east of the city centre, rather than follow the M18 motorway to the city centre, would have resulted in only 296 residential demolitions.

The Government has said that 16 of 216 homes on the Shimmer housing estate will be demolished, but residents dispute that figure. Also, the compensation package offered may not allow some Shimmer homeowners to acquire a similar property in the local area.

 House prices on the estate have already dropped by an average of 10% of their original purchase prices, according to Carter Jonas. Consultants found that a shortage of similar new-build properties in the surrounding area could lead to price inflation as ousted Shimmer residents bid against each other.

At the time the route was announced, 130 houses had been sold on the estate, with a further 90 properties either built or unsold or yet to be built. All homeowners can now apply for the government to buy their properties at the “HS2 unblighted” market rate, plus 10% compensation and moving costs.

At the sharp end though are those properties not considered for demolition but are so close to the line anyway. Peter and Sue Douglas bought their house on the estate for £165,000 in 2014 and spent two years doing it up for their retirement.

Their home is only five metres from the proposed viaduct, so is not included in the 16 definitely facing the bulldozers and may not get government to buy their home and pay compensation. 

Because the estate has never been finished (because of uncertainty over HS2) the houses will be undervalued and they face years of protracted negotiations.

Picture courtesy of Thomas Temple

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