CAMPAIGNERS today called for Sheffield’s new high speed train station to be located in the city centre instead of Meadowhall.
Details of the next phase of the £32bn HS2 high-speed rail network – which will cut Sheffield to London journey times to 75 minutes – have been unveiled by the government.
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The preferred phase two route runs from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds with stations at Manchester Airport, Toton near Nottingham and Sheffield.
As revealed in The Star, a new station will be built at Meadowhall and trams will be extended to the south west of the city as far as Dore.
The £32.7 billion project will not be completed until 2033. Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield said he would be campaigning against the decision to locate Sheffield’s station out of the city.
He said: “This is the biggest investment in the railways north of London for 120 years, so we’ve got to get it right.
“The case for HS2 is about improving connectivity between our great cities. We need centre-to-centre links. “An independent study has shown a city centre station would bring between £2bn and £5bn billion more into the local economy and create 6,500 extra jobs.
“I’m disappointed ministers have ignored this evidence and I’ll be continuing to make the case for the station to be at the heart of our city.”
Cllr Leigh Bramall, Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for business, skills and economy added: “Sheffield City Council welcomes this announcement and strongly supports high speed rail for the economic benefits it can bring to our city, the City Region and wider economy of the north.
“However, we believe it is crucial the high speed rail station is located where it has the maximum potential to grow the economy of the Sheffield City Region.
Clive Betts, MP for Sheffield South East said he agreed with location of the station after looking at the options.
He said: “Bringing the line through Sheffield centre would have been very costly and would have had significant implications for many homes and businesses.
“In addition, that route would have increased journey times.
“For most residents of South Yorkshire – and this is a station for the whole sub-region - Meadowhall already has better road, rail and bus links than the alternatives.”
Richard Wright, executive director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, called for better transport links to the new station.
He said: “Plans must be created now to ensure the station is properly connected to all areas of the city region.
“This includes improving parking and existing transport network around Meadowhall.”
He questioned whether the M1 exits at Tinsley could cope with increased traffic, and whether the viaduct could be strengthened to accommodate three lanes of traffic.
But Tim Hale, chairman of Sheffield Chamber’s transport forum, said: “While some may wish to have seen it closer to the city centre, on balance, the connectivity of Meadowhall to the whole of the city region is probably better.
“Now the government must address the resulting issues. It is important those who are negatively affected have their fears dispelled quickly.
“The authorities need to resolve such problems quickly and efficiently so businesses are not affected, and lives are not blighted by worry.”
*The route goes from Killamarsh, past Rother Valley Country Park, through Beighton, toward Swallownest, through Fence, between Orgreave and Treeton, and on to Catcliffe.
From there it would continue to Tinsley, Meadowhall and Chapeltown, through Hesley Woods, crossing the M1 just before Junction 35a towards Hoyland.
From Hoyland Common and Upper Hoyland, it would cross the Dearne Valley Parkway, toward Worsborough, along edge of Wombwell Woods and onto Ardsley and Stairfoot and on through West Yorkshire to Leeds.
See thestar.co.uk to view a map of the planned route.