Sir Steve Houghton: Snubbing devolution in Sheffield City Region was not revenge for HS2
Sir Steve Houghton has quashed claims that his support for a One Yorkshire devolution deal was '˜revenge' for moving the proposed HS2 station to Sheffield city centre.
The Barnsley leader insisted that refusing to ratify Sheffield City Region’s £900m devolution agreement was “nothing whatsoever” to do with HS2.
His statement kills off rumours that relations between South Yorkshire leaders had broken down to such an extent that it led to him carrying out a stunning act of revenge - and self-harm.
The Sheffield deal would have brought new powers, funding and an elected ‘metro mayor’ to the region, including Barnsley.
He said: “HS2 has nothing whatsoever to do with our devolution decision.
“Indeed, it could be argued that the revised HS2 proposals, assuming they include a parkway station, actually would serve Barnsley much better than the original ones.”
The planned HS2 stop was moved from Meadowhall to the city centre following a campaign led by the city council, Sheffield Chamber and The Star last year. Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham opposed the move.
Last month, Barnsley and Doncaster pulled out of the region’s devolution deal to pursue a One Yorkshire proposal involving 17 of the county’s 20 councils, dubbed the ‘Coalition of the Willing.’
Sheffield City Region will now elect a ‘metro mayor’ in May but without powers or money.
The One Yorkshire plan also appears to be in trouble. Government has repeatedly insisted it can never include any South Yorkshire council and several Conservative leaders have said they now want a ‘Rest of Yorkshire’ plan.