The economic benefits for Sheffield City Region overwhelmingly favour a city centre location for the HS2 station - rather than one four miles outside the city centre.
Figures prove city centre is best for HS2 station
But it is important that the HS2 and HS3 issues are not considered in isolation.
The issues around connectivity are now high on the political agenda.
London is building its cross city rail link and a similar one for the North – linking the major city centres - is at least as important to the development of the Northern Powerhouse.
It is also important to consider the whole of Sheffield City Region rather than just South Yorkshire, as mentioned by the Barnsley MPs in their letter to the transport secretary, as a strong economy is vital in developing all the other benefits of the HS2 network.
Saying Meadowhall is closer to their patch ignores people living in the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire districts that also form part of our city region. In fact, the independent Volterra report indicated that Barnsley would actually gain more than double the number of jobs if the HS2 station was located in the city centre rather than at Meadowhall.
Forecasts by Genecon suggest a city centre station would generate up to £5 billion additional GVA for the city region and 6,500 more jobs compared to Meadowhall.
HS2 Ltd’s own forecasts suggest this difference would be even larger – more than 7,000 additional jobs.
Over the last few years, HS2’s work has found that a city centre station is quicker and cheaper than they originally estimated.
From examining potential routes in more detail, the journey time has gone from seven minutes to two minutes and the cost difference has reduced from £1 billion to £680 million.
If you factor in the need for an extra connection between Meadowhall and the city centre to meet the Transport for the North requirements and the business rate uplift, this cost difference is removed and Victoria is actually cheaper.
The Strategic Economic Plan sets out the Local Enterprise Partnership’s ambition to create 70,000 new jobs. Four out of the five sectors which will generate the most jobs are concentrated in Sheffield and three of them are concentrated in the city centre.
Our argument is not parochial - the whole city region benefits from a strong city centre. Successful city regions need successful cities.