Sheffield station plans rethink urged

Royal Victoria Hotel could be part of city station rather than bulldozed
Royal Victoria Hotel could be part of city station rather than bulldozed
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A report ordered by Sheffield Council has urged a rethink on the site of the high speed rail station, branding the Meadowhall option bad for business.

The study by consultants Volterra, being sent to the Department for Transport as part of consultation on the new line, said an out-of-town station would be a ‘blow’ for Sheffield’s ‘opportunity to compete for business’.

Sheffield Council wants the station built at the old Victoria site near the Wicker Arches instead of Meadowhall. Its report warns: “The combination of displacement of activity outside the city centre and the fact that other competing cities will have centrally-located stations could affect firms’ location decisions.

“Indirect access to the city centre will place Sheffield behind other core cities.”

The report says that where high speed stations have been built outside cities, such as Valence and Avignon, in France, there has been virtually no economic benefit.

But, after a decision was taken to build Lille’s high speed station in the centre, the city has become the third biggest business centre in France.

The Volterra report said the Grade II listed Holiday Inn Royal Victoria Hotel could be incorporated into the new station in a ‘London St Pancras-style development’.

The Government said having a station in central Sheffield on a ‘loop’ off the main line would be too expensive due to the need for a £1 billion tunnel through north Sheffield. But Volterra said the line could instead be a spur to Sheffield Victoria - although the line would then be limited to Sheffield to London services.

■ HS2 has announced public consultation events at Barnsley Town Hall from 10am-5pm on Saturday, November 2; Sheffield English Institute of Sport between noon and 8pm on Friday, November 8, and from 10am-5pm on Saturday November 9, and Killamarsh Sports Centre from noon and 8pm on Thursday, November 14.