Big dreams at HS2 station design day in Sheffield

Henk Bouwman
Henk Bouwman
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HS2 won’t arrive in Sheffield for 15 years and the route isn’t even finalised yet, but does that mean the city does nothing? No way!

Scores of business and city leaders attended a special event to design a city centre station that looks amazing, makes a statement, acts as a marketing tool and creates wealth for the region.

Richard Wright

Richard Wright

Held in the Millennium Galleries and organised by Sheffield Chamber, people were split into tables of 10, each one chaired by a developer. And the ideas flowed thick and fast.

Following a campaign by The Star, Chamber and City Council, the Government’s preferred route is to run trains into Midland Station using existing tracks on a loop off a mainline through Doncaster. Trains will be up to 400m long and the station will have to be expanded to house them, the meeting heard.

Much of the empty plot at Sheaf Square could be required. One idea was to build a huge, flat, green and glass roof that bridged over to Norfolk Park, reflecting the Outdoor City. Marble walls and floors were mooted - expensive, but low maintenance over 50 years.

Connectivity is key, and trams could be diverted down Sheaf Street in front of the station. Meanwhile a terraced public space could soar over the bus station to create a prestigious new link up to Arundel Gate.

Station designs demonstrated by Neil Jones of SCC

Station designs demonstrated by Neil Jones of SCC

Richard Wright, Chamber executive director, said: “I think this is really useful, there’s obvious passion here.

“We want to make people much more forward thinking and some really good points have come out.

“I hope to keep people engaged so the station delivers everything we hope for.”

The ideas will be sent to HS2 ahead of public consultation on the route closing on March 9. A final decision by government is expected in July.

Leigh Bramall, deputy leader of SCC, and Jim Bell of Arup.

Leigh Bramall, deputy leader of SCC, and Jim Bell of Arup.

Henk Bouwman, of Urban Impulse, urged Sheffield to prepare now.

He said: “Avignon waited for high speed rail and nothing happened. They thought it would bring growth to them. It is a catalyst and needs something to catalyse.

“Don’t over-estimate passenger numbers, it’s as much about image and brand.”