'They destroyed a community:' The estate ruined by shelved HS2 extension

Rachel Ridler was one of many residents forced to move from their home on the Shimmer estate due to HS2. Credit: PA

Residents on the Shimmer Estate in Mexborough, South Yorkshire, who were forced out of their homes after the site was earmarked for demolition to make way for the now-scrapped second HS2 leg, said they are "angry" at how they have been treated.

Residents were informed by a letter in 2016 that 16 residential properties on the then newly built estate would need to be knocked down to make way for the high speed train. By the end of 2020, the government had purchased 75 homes for potential demolition to make way for the line.

The remaining houses on the estate would have been in touching distance of the railway, and many argued the entire site should have been brought up to make way for construction of a 20 metre high viaduct.

Rachel Ridler says the Shimmer estate was a "budding community" before it was marked to be bulldozed for HS2.

Transport secretary, Grant Shapps, announced on Thursday that that the eastern leg of HS2 will be scrapped between the East Midlands and Leeds, leaving those who had been forced out of their former home angry at the stress they were put through.

Rachel Ridler is one of many Shimmer estate former residents who feels she was forced out of her home for nothing in light of Thursday's announcement.

Ms Ridler and her husband left the estate three years ago after, ending two extremely stressful years for the family.

She says there would be a removal van every few weeks, the constant flux of residents eroding the community spirit of the estate. Half built houses were left abandoned as the developers left the project knowing no one would buy a home in the shadow of a major railway line. The estate "ran to ruin" as people began to neglect their homes.

The HS2 extension was to cut through the new 'Shimmer' housing estate in Mexbrough. Credit: PA

The family had planned to make their house of the Shimmer estate their home for many years among what Ms Ridler describes as a "budding community". They also lost out financially as the compensation they were offered did not meet the expense of buying another property. Ms Ridler claims houses were undervalued and residents did not get the compensation they deserved for the stress they were put through. She says many of her former neighbours remain angry at their treatment. Few people who lived on the estate who lived there in 2016 remain.

Ms Ridler tells ITV News: "It's a real shame that they've destroyed what was kind of a budding community on the Shimmer, an estate where new neighbours were moving in and getting to know each other, and it had that hope of being a beautiful place to live.

"And they destroyed that. The first year after the announcement, obviously people stopped looking after the houses. If it's not going to be your house, you don't look after it, do you? And you'd see every week a moving van, come onto the estate and someone else move off. It was like a dagger to your heart every week."

She continues: "It was a really horrible couple of years after the news, there were half built houses that it just abandoned and the far end of the estate just went to kind of just run to ruin where there was no point in the build in the last 20 or 30 houses because who was going to buy and buy them on a kind of condemned estate.

Credit: pa

"A year when you could say there just wasn't any point. It wasn't the place that we'd dream of the future that we brought into.

"We joined with the host of neighbours who applied to sell the houses to the government and started that process, not knowing where we wanted to go or or anything. And we chose to move to the furthest side of Doncaster."

She says she felt people were treated "appallingly"

"To decide on a route and then to pushed envelopes through people's doorsteps at six in the morning, so you wake up and that news is just sat on your on your doormat. It was horrible."