The leader of Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber has refused to accept figures which show an HS2 station in Sheffield city centre would be better for the region’s economy.
Chief executive Andrew Denniff, said he “challenged the validity” of research by HS2 Ltd indicating it would create 6,500 extra jobs compared to the Government’s current choice of Meadowhall.
The organisation also predicts a stop on the old Victoria station site would create 1,000 more homes and 24 per cent more passengers every day.
Research by Volterra Partners, for Sheffield City Council, shows it could create three times as many jobs in Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster.
But Mr Denniff was sceptical.
He said: “Are they real jobs? What kind? Where? I think there have been a lot of assumptions made, I’m not sure they have been based on solid figures.
“They are saying there will be 1,000 extra homes. I could say there will be 10,000. Where’s the evidence they will be in addition to the figure for Meadowhall?”
Mr Denniff said he accepted one prediction – that a station at Meadowhall would create 5,400 jobs in total, a number also from HS2 Ltd.
He said: “I would accept that, it’s been in the public domain for a while. It’s not my job to justify the claim of 6,500 extra jobs.”
Mr Denniff challenged reports and statistics by HS2 Ltd, economic consultants Genecon and Volterra Partners.
But he accepted the findings of one report, by construction consultancy Mott McDonald, hired by Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster councils and published in December.
It concludes there is ‘insufficient evidence’ in Sheffield City Council’s job predictions, adding, ‘it has not presented a balanced view of economic impacts’.
Mr Denniff said a Meadowhall station would support an emerging Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District, set to be a cluster of hi-tech firms between Waverley and Tinsley, and its potential had not been accounted for, he insisted.