Do not squander great opportunity

editorial image
Have your say

It seems remarkable that we have finally gained a high-speed rain link for Sheffield (albeit Meadowhall).

Journey times to London will be ultimately reduced, which is essential in helping narrow the North/South divide.

We have to wonder, however, how it will benefit Sheffield and the South Yorkshire region as a whole?

Unfortunately, I doubt it will help current centres, as we know them today.

The opening of Meadowhall shopping centre in 1990 had a severe impact on Sheffield city centre and Rotherham town centre.

Until recently this has been the case, yet there have been ambitious attempts to rejuvenate these centres such as the Heart of the City project in Sheffield and the redevelopment of the Moor, as well as the Sevenstone development.

I believe that HS2 will further reduce the attractiveness of the two traditional urban areas.

Yet we are provided with an exciting opportunity at the meeting point between Sheffield and Rotherham.

This is where the now defunct Sheffield Airport lies unoccupied, but with questions about a potential reopening.

This could become a new hub of transport connections for the region with the airport connecting to a high-speed rail network.

Along, with the development of the Sheffield Business Park and advanced manufacturing industries in the area, this is the perfect opportunity to invest in a new economic centre between Sheffield and Rotherham, supported by the M1.

The question that arises is how do we connect and make use of these three areas to make sure that we do not have some bleak decades for the centres of Rotherham and Sheffield?

One answer is the expansion of Supertram between Meadowhall and Rotherham.

An integration of the Supertram into the new station at Meadowhall must be fought for by the councils in Sheffield and Rotherham.

As a Sheffielder, I love my city and the county from where I come, so I see HS2 as one of the greatest opportunities we have had to see new economies, which should not be squandered.

Andrew Dwyer, Student, Durham University