Chamber concern over rail threat to industry

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Sheffield Chamber of Commerce has called on the Government to quickly resolve concerns raised by businesses affected by the high speed railway development.

In current plans the route will pass through the existing sites of manufacturing companies in the Lower Don Valley.

Consultation on the proposed route is under way.

The chamber supports the line in principle but Richard Wright, executive director, said: “It is clearly unacceptable to choose a route that cuts through major businesses.

“What we need is an early resolution to the consultation to remove the doubt and allow the businesses along the route to get on and operate and invest with confidence.

“Inevitably, there will be a route chosen and anybody eventually affected by the development needs to receive clear indications around compensation. This needs to happen now.”

Sheffield MPs Nick Clegg, MP for Sheffield Hallam and Deputy Prime Minister, and former Home Secretary David Blunkett, MP for Brightside and Hillsborough, have already stepped in to have the route changed slightly to avoid Firth Rixson’s Meadowhall steelworks.

Tim Hale, chairman of the chamber’s transport forum and plant and tool hire business Champion Hire, said: “It is pointless having such a grandiose project as HS2, if the immediate knock-on is to force major existing businesses to close or relocate with the resulting loss of jobs.”

A meeting has been arranged to consider the arguments for and against the high speed line. The debate will be on Thursday, June 27 at The Rose Bowl, Leeds, starting at 6.30pm. Tickets cost £10 from http://HS2debate.eventbrite.co.uk

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