Sheffield could miss out on an HS2 station altogether if it can’t unite behind one location, business minister Anna Soubry warned.
On a visit to Sheffield yesterday she told The Star: “If you are looking at where to place something and everyone is falling out, the danger is you might miss out.
“The chairman of HS2 said he wanted the work to start up in Leeds now.
“I want the Toton station in my area, south of Sheffield, up and running.
“We need to get on with HS2, it’s a hugely important project. We need people to get together and sort this out or Sheffield might miss the opportunity and that’s the last thing I want to happen.”
The Star, Sheffield City Council, Sheffield Chamber and hundreds of businesses have been campaigning for a city centre station due to the overwhelming economic benefit over the government’s choice of Meadowhall.
Ms Soubry said the Labour party needed to get in a room and sort it out.
She added: “When you’ve got a Labour city council and Labour MPs who don’t agree they have got to get together and sort it out.”
HS2 Ltd figures show a city centre station would create 6,500 more jobs and 1,000 extra homes, while its adviser, Genecon, says it would pump an extra £5bn into the economy over 25 years.
HS2 could form the eastern leg of HS3 between Leeds and Sheffield – but only if the stations are in both city centres.
And a top engineer claims Meadowhall is the worst place to build an HS2 station because the rock beneath it is ‘mush’ due to a three-mile rock fault, posing a huge – and as yet uncosted – engineering challenge that could be greater than the cost of the city centre option.