BATTLE lines have been drawn over who should cover the cost of creating public transport links to Sheffield’s planned new high speed rail station.
The Department for Transport has revealed councils and businesses ‘likely to benefit’ from the HS2 network could be expected to make a financial contribution.
Government officials say it is ‘fair and right’ – but city MPs and councillors in are unhappy about having to find funding.
The overall line will cost £33billion, running from London to Birmingham then splitting into two branches, one to Manchester and the other to Leeds, calling at a new station at Meadowhall.
Sheffield is likely to be asked to make a contribution from a £500m infrastructure fund set aside for projects around the city.
The council could be asked to help fund improvements such as the new Supertram line to south west Sheffield, which could cost hundreds of millions of pounds.
But Sheffield South East Labour MP Clive Betts said: “We need the local transport fund to pay for other projects, and transport links to the new high speed station at Meadowhall should come from the Government.”
Sheffield Central Labour MP Paul Blomfield added: “I will be raising this issue with the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin to try to ensure the Government pays.”
Coun Leigh Bramall, Sheffield Council cabinet member responsible for transport, said: “We met with the Transport Secretary two weeks ago and were never told we would be expected to make a contribution.
“Discussions are taking place between Sheffield and the other councils in the city region about where to spend the infrastructure fund, but we always understood links to the new high speed station at Meadowhall would be Government funded.”
A Department for Transport spokesman said: “Any third party contributions will depend on local circumstances and could take a variety of forms.
“This will be a collaborative approach and the Government is committed to securing a fair deal for the taxpayer, the cities and other interested parties.”