All change on proposals for high speed rail in Sheffield

Sheffield Council's Coun Leigh Bramall

Sheffield Council's Coun Leigh Bramall

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Transport officials in Sheffield are proposing a ‘third way’ to bring high speed rail into the city centre to get the ‘best economic outcome’.

Sheffield Council is lobbying the Government and neighbouring authorities within South Yorkshire to support a stop at the old Victoria Station site on the edge of the city centre instead of at Meadowhall.

Train over the Wicker Arches

Train over the Wicker Arches

But proposals drawn up by HS2 Limited - the Government-backed company set up to build the £43 billion network - are for a main line through Meadowhall.

HS2 Ltd says a station at Victoria would have to be built on a loop line coming off the main line at Woodhouse, running into the city centre and back out through a tunnel to Ecclesfield, adding £1 billion to the cost.

However, Coun Leigh Bramall, Sheffield Council cabinet member for business, skills and development, said: “We think there is a better option that the Government has missed - which would be to bring the main line through Sheffield city centre and not build the section at Meadowhall.”

Sheffield Council is in discussions with HS2 to see whether the city centre option would be cheaper because the main line at Meadowhall would have to cross the Don Valley on a four-kilometre viaduct at a likely cost of hundreds of millions of pounds.

Coun Bramall said: “It is true that a line through the city centre would be slightly slower, but the Government has said that speed is not necessarily the whole issue to justify HS2.

“The scheme is about economic development and a city centre station would create 10,000 new jobs compared with 4,000 at Meadowhall.”

Simon Green, Sheffield Council’s executive director responsible for development, said that efforts were being made to ease concern from neighbouring towns about their links to Victoria, compared with Meadowhall.

He said: “The tram stops close to Victoria and a pedestrian link could be created. We could also look at reopening the old Attercliffe Road station and creating an access from there for passengers coming in from Barnsley and Doncaster.”

Sheffield Council’s push for a station at Victoria instead of Meadowhall has caused concern at neighbouring authorities - with Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster all preferring Meadowhall.

But Coun Bramall said: “They have said they will consider our proposals for a third way and we hope it is something they can support.

“The extra jobs will not only benefit Sheffield but the whole area.”

Coun Sir Stephen Houghton CBE, Barnsley Council leader, said: “Council leaders’ final decision will be to back the station which offers the maximum economic benefit for the Sheffield City Region.”

A decision on Sheffield City Region’s final preferred station is expected in the next fortnight.

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