'Enough is enough' - calls grow for new tram link to Sheffield suburbs

Transport bosses are preparing a business case for up to 230 million of future investment in Supertram
Transport bosses are preparing a business case for up to 230 million of future investment in Supertram
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Calls to extend the Sheffield tram service to Stocksbridge are growing, with one councillor declaring 'enough is enough'.

Hundreds of new homes are planned or under construction in Stocksbridge, Deepcar and Oughtibridge, which frustrated commuters fear will exacerbate congestion between those suburbs and the city centre.

Stocksbridge councillor Jack Clarkson says the area 'desperately' needs a rail link to Sheffield city centre

Stocksbridge councillor Jack Clarkson says the area 'desperately' needs a rail link to Sheffield city centre

The tram line would be extended between Middlewood and Fox Valley, with stops at Oughtibridge, Wharncliffe Side, Deepcar and Stocksbridge, under proposals which have long been mooted.

Transport chiefs are preparing a business case for up to £230 million of future investment in the Supertram network, but they say there are currently no plans to extend it to Fox Valley.

Stocksbridge ward councillor Jack Clarkson said he would 'love to see' the Supertram extended to Stocksbridge.

"The rush hour traffic between here and the city centre is already impinging on the bus timetables, and the number of houses being built is likely to seriously increase road traffic," he added.

MP Angela Smith has urged transport chiefs to reconsider extending the tram service to Stocksbridge

MP Angela Smith has urged transport chiefs to reconsider extending the tram service to Stocksbridge

"Stocksbridge and the Upper Don Valley desperately need a rail link to Sheffield city centre.

"It's taking people a good hour to get to work. It needs the public to say enough is enough, the roads just can't take any more."

More than 2,000 people responded to a consultation last winter by the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) on Supertram's future.

A poll run by The Star at the same time showed a new connection to Stocksbridge was easily the most popular of several options on the table to extend the network.

Fox Valley shopping centre includes provision for a tram or train stop

Fox Valley shopping centre includes provision for a tram or train stop

Angela Smith, MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, said: "Given the number of houses being built and the fact we have a big retail centre attracting more people to the area it's vital the SYPTE starts making transport links here a priority and reconsiders extending the tram service."

She added that recent changes to the 57 bus service between Stocksbridge and the city centre, which is now slower and less frequent, had left the area even more isolated.

There have been suggestions trams could use the existing freight line between Rotherham and Stocksbridge, or that this could accommodate passenger trains.

The Fox Valley shopping centre development, which was completed last year, includes space for a tram or train stop beside the freight line, which was a condition of planning permission being granted.

A spokeswoman for Fox Valley's owner Dransfield Properties said it would support anything which improves public transport to the area.

Work is already underway on 140 new homes beside Fox Valley, permission has been granted for more than 400 on an old brick works beside Station Road in Deepcar, and another 320 are earmarked for the former Oughtibridge Mill site.

Ben Gilligan, SYPTE's director of public transport, said: “We do not have any plans to extend the tram to Fox Valley. Sheffield City Region has received £1.573 million from the Department for Transport, which will enable network owners SYPTE to progress a business case for up to £230 million future investment in Supertram.

"Work is ongoing to look at broader connectivity across Sheffield City Region as part of the refresh of the transport strategy."