Letter: The current HS2 design does not serve Sheffield well

This letter sent to the Star was written by Michael Frampton, Barker’s Pool, Sheffield

Friday, 20th December 2019, 9:56 am
Updated Tuesday, 31st December 2019, 6:41 am
An artist's impression of how HS2 could look

The government has now called for HS2 to be examined in the Oakervee Review. There is a list of eminent people on this panel not least Michael Byng who, at the request of the Department for Transport, had re-calculated the predicted costs of HS2 which, at the previously updated figure of £56 billion, is well over £100bn.

HS2 was originally marketed as achieving reduced journey times, a natural appeal.

However, the review will not only examine costs but include capacity, connectivity, economic trans-formation, environmental benefits and alternative strategic transport schemes.

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The current HS2 design does not serve Sheffield well. With Sheffield placed on a loop, we are worse off in journey times and connectivity than the status quo. Improved rail links across the North, as promised in George Osborne’s 2014 Northern Powerhouse initiative, would be very much more in our interests. This should place Sheffield on a strong transpennine route, extending from Liverpool via Manchester and Sheffield to Hull. Northern Powerhouse Rail was covered at the ‘Convention of the North’ day (at the Magna in Rotherham), at which the Prime Minister spoke.

The Director General, High Speed & Major Rail Projects Group, at the Department for Transport, stated, in reply to my email divulging confidential information, “The case of High Speed 2 has been extensively debated publicly, including in Parliament” having closed the Department’s Complaints website on HS2, referring all to HS2 Ltd, and subsequently backdating this by seven days. Everyone has vested interests. One might ask who can debate such matters, with the knowledge required, who has not got a vested interest? I could say a great deal more.

Whereas there has been a possible leak of the Oakervee Review report, supporting HS2, I learn that this is not the real Oakervee Review report.