‘Too early’ to decide on station

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RULING Labour councillors in Sheffield have decided it is ‘too early’ to back a specific site for the city’s planned new high speed rail station.

Opposition Lib Dem councillors, backed by some Wicker businesses, had proposed a motion calling for the terminal to be sited at the Victoria Station site, on the Wicker Arches.

Lib Dem group leader Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, who put forward the proposals, said: “A new national high-speed rail network will offer a step change in capacity and connectivity – and that will help transform the economy of Sheffield once again so it can compete and grow in the 21st century. Sheffield and South Yorkshire will benefit hugely from high-speed rail.

“A new station at the old Victoria Station site would regenerate the surrounding area and maximise the economic benefits in Sheffield of high speed rail by being located in the city centre.”

Ruling Labour councillors voted against the proposal. Despite being interested in the idea, they were concerned about commiting to a specific station site.

Other ideas are believed to include a station in the lower Don Valley.

HS2, the organisation set up by the Government to develop the new high speed network, is initially building a line from London to Birmingham.

Northern extensions will be made, with one running to Manchester and the other to the East Midlands, Sheffield and Leeds.

Labour cabinet member for business, jobs and growth Coun Helen Mirfin-Boukouris said: “We believe that a station should be located in Sheffield but at this stage we do not believe it is appropriate to comment on specific potential sites as discussions are ongoing between South Yorkshire representatives, HS2 and the Department for Transport which are strictly governed by confidentiality agreements.”

She said that the council giving a public view on the station site could put the project ‘at risk’. Consultation on the route through Sheffield will not begin for a further two years, she added.