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Local News

‘Do we sell, don’t we?’ Desperate homeowners left in limbo over future of homes they love on HS2 estate

today26/11/2021

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People living on a Mexborough estate say they have been “left in the dark” as confusion surrounds the future of their homes and the eastern leg of the HS2.

The route, which was scrapped in a Government announcement last week, would have passed through the newbuild Shimmer Estate, in Mexborough, meaning many homes would have to be bulldozed.

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But, far from proving to be the end of a nightmare for residents in the area, last week’s news has just led to more confusion and ambiguity – as they have been told the route is still being ‘safeguarded’.

This means that houses belonging to residents such as Linsey Hague, who bought her home with her husband, Nigel, in 2014, are facing an uncertain future.

Mrs Hague told YorkshireLive: “It’s been safeguarded since 2016, but what has been widely reported is that the Phase 2B route has been cancelled.

“But we were shocked to find out, we only just received a letter today from HS2, what we’ve been told, directly by HS2, is that it’s not been cancelled, it’s under review.”

Linsey said that she and other residents had been told they could expect to find out by 2021 what would be happening with their homes.

But she said the recent announcement has “left residents in the dark”, because it seems to contradict the communications that she and others are getting from HS2 executives.

“I think what’s caused a lot of confusion is this blight notice, no one on the estate has ever been given a compulsory purchase order, because HS2 and the Department for Transport didn’t know if it was going to go ahead”, Linsey said.

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The ‘blight notice’ is something that can be served on a local authority – or, in this case, HS2 – compelling them to purchase a property, due to the threat of compulsory purchase.

But none of the houses on the Shimmer Estate have yet been compulsory purchased by HS2 and this has muddied the water around serving a blight notice, meaning that some residents have just cut their losses and sold their houses – to HS2.

Confusion over the future of the estate, blight notices and the threat of compulsory purchase has been stressful and worrying for homeowners like Linsey – and hit some financially with HS2 accused of offering less than market value for the houses it has bought

And, for residents who have served a blight notice, it is causing yet more confusion – because Linsey said that even many surveyors are unsure about the legalities of these notices.

Linsey said: “This is people’s lives, I’ve got a full time job, I run my own business and many other residents have full time jobs, to say it’s an additional full time job: we really aren’t exaggerating.

“I’ve logged more than 500 hours on my timesheet of my dealings with HS2, which, when you work full time, it’s not sustainable, I was taking time away from my business.”

Though some of Linsey’s neighbours have “cut their losses” and sold, Linsey is – at present – reluctant to do that, because she loves her home and is hoping for a resolution.

She said advice when she was considering selling was that the Phase 2B HS2 route would very likely not go ahead, so there would be no need to leave.



Mexborough ward councillor, Sean Gibbons (centre), says that residents on the Shimmer Estate are "stuck and can't move forward"
Mexborough ward councillor, Sean Gibbons (centre), says that residents on the Shimmer Estate are “stuck and can’t move forward”

But with the new notice from HS2, she is now unsure.

“It’s a really difficult one,” Linsey said, “but me and my husband spent quite a bit of a money on our house, I work from home so I need an office, we’ve got two lovely big bedrooms, it overlooks the canal, it’s crime free, we have lovely neighbours and really like our house.

“It’s very hard to know what to do, do we cut our losses? We did find a house but it was in an area we didn’t like as much and it’s getting hard to find new builds.”

At this stage Linsey – like many of her neighbours – is just waiting it out.

But uncertainty is far from the only issue facing residents in Shimmer, as it is still in dire need of remedial work which has been halted, again, due to the situation with HS2.

MP for the area, Ed Miliband, has been fighting the corner of concerned residents and has called for the immediate completion of the estate.

And he has called on the Prime Minister to personally apologise to people who have been forced out of their homes.

According to the LDRS, Mr Miliband said people in the town and within Doncaster have been “put through hell” and said the “government should be ashamed of the callous disregard they have shown for people”, especially those with homes earmarked for the bulldozer.


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He said they government should have stuck to an earlier version of the route, via Meadowhall, instead of putting people in Mexborough and Doncaster through “hell”.

“Now they have cancelled it without a word of apology for what they have inflicted on people in our area.

“So much money and effort has been wasted on causing heartache to so many people.

“The government should be ashamed of the callous disregard they have shown for people whose lives were turned upside down for nothing.

“The Shimmer estate must now be completed and people in Mexborough need to be able to get on with planning for the future.

“There should also be a personal apology from Boris Johnson for what he has inflicted on people in our area.

Linsey said: “Is the estate just going to be abandoned? Do we sell, don’t we? You don’t know whether to laugh or cry sometimes.”

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Written by: Rother Radio News


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today26/11/2021