Mum forced to sell 'forever home' for HS2 plans says govt caused 'unnecessary heartache'

18 November 2021, 22:53 | Updated: 19 November 2021, 14:39

Tara Wellard was forced to sell her house to make way for the HS2
Tara Wellard was forced to sell her house to make way for the HS2. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

A single mother has accused the government of causing “unnecessary heartache” after she was forced to sell her “forever home” to make way for the construction of HS2.

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In 2017 Tara Wellard was forced to sell her three-bedroom house on the Shimmer estate in Mexborough, after the Department for Transport announced 16 homes needed to be demolished to allow construction of the railway to begin.

Today Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed the eastern leg of HS2 to Leeds has been scrapped and a full high-speed east-west line linking Manchester to Leeds will not be built, meaning Tara's house old house no longer need to be knocked down.

Ms Wellard has now hit out at the government for causing “stress, sleepless nights and worry” to the home owners who were forced to pack up and leave.

Speaking to LBC Ms Wellard said: "I do believe that I would still be in that house today. It is heart breaking because I still pass that house everyday."

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Describing the difficulties in finding a new house, Ms Wellard said: "The stress levels of trying to work full time job, with two kids and no support and to look for a new three-bedroom house in the area that would be suitable.

"You can never imagine that stress because it's not something you can be laidback with you have to actively look to move on. "

Ms Willard says the announcement today has "opened another chapter of a book" and has raised questions about the future of the estate: "My first thought was will we have the opportunity to buy our houses back and be supported."

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The 39-year-old also revealed she had to fork out an extra £17,000 on her new house after selling her old house at market value.

But despite the spending extra on a "smaller" house, Tara says she has "lost friends, the atmosphere on the street, the community" which she fear she will never get back.

When asked what she thought about the HS2 plans being scrapped Ms Wellard added: "What a waste. What a waste of money firstly but also me personally, all the stress, all the time I have had to have off work, the sleepless nights the packing up boxes."

The plans to scrap past of HS2 have been met with criticism from Labour who say the government has "betrayed" the North.

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West Yorkshire mayor Tracy Brabin said the rail plan was a "betrayal of the North" and a "betrayal of the Government's levelling-up promise".

The Labour mayor said it was a "20th century upgrade to 19th century infrastructure" rather than the promised new lines.

She said the plan "doesn't deliver HS2 in full to Leeds, it doesn't deliver a high-speed line across the Pennines with that crucial city stop in Bradford, it does not support our ambition as northern leaders for a stronger, fairer and better-connected North for all".

"Whitehall seems not to have listened to northern voices. HS2 will now stop short of Yorkshire and the high-speed Northern Powerhouse Rail will stop at the border. This is not levelling up."

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: "The Government has committed to further development work on the most effective way to run HS2 trains to Leeds.

"Safeguarding of the previously proposed route will remain in place and all property acquired will continue to be managed by HS2 Ltd until conclusion of this work."

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “The Government has committed to further development work on the most effective way to run HS2 trains to Leeds.

“Safeguarding of the previously proposed route will remain in place and all property acquired will continue to be managed by HS2 Ltd until conclusion of this work.”