Friday, January 10, 2014

News: Connectivity must improve for HS2 to work for region

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The Integrated Transport Authority (ITA) in the Sheffield city region is backing Meadowhall as the proposed location of the HS2 station, but only if a significant package of improvements is included to ensure that it reaches its full economic potential.

In response to the national consultation, the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE), on behalf of the South Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority (ITA), explained how improvements to connectivity and a masterplan for the area around Meadowhall would help the region harness the economic growth that the HS2 project could bring.

Read the latest Rothbiz article on the response here.

HS2 is expected to support the creation of around 5,000 jobs in the station development regeneration areas around Meadowhall and the Lower Don Valley. A report by KPMG stated that HS2 could add between £0.5 billion and £0.9 billion each year to the economic output of South Yorkshire.

Transport leaders explained the need for the Meadowhall station to provide the best possible access from the Sheffield City Region. The main area to improve is the connectivity from Meadowhall to Sheffield city centre.

Experts are hoping for support to ensure Meadowhall provides "as good, if not better, access from the city centre as is currently provided to Sheffield Midland station" in the form of a "Supertram Express" link with the central business district in Sheffield city centre.

Links to the HS2 station using other forms of transport would also need to be improved, including the the tram-train, Bus Rapid Transit system, improvements to rail infrastructure and more carriages and feeder services, electrification of current rail lines, links to the region's airport and significant improvements to M1 Junction 33 and 34, and even realigning the M1 itself.

The HS2 station would need to be integrated better into other services such as rail and Supertram, creating an expanded hub at Meadowhall.

Specific to Rotherham there are calls for dualling the Holmes Chord, the single track which restricts rail stops at Rotherham central; road network improvements; and more tram-trains including an extension of tram-train network to South West Sheffield and the Waverley development.

In addition to a package for improving connectivity, partners are set to work on a masterplan for the station site and surrounding area to include plans for future development and mitigating the impact of congestion. With HS2, the aim is for Meadowhall to become a transport and economic hub and be "a secondary economic driver for the region with a complementary offer to Sheffield city centre."

The vision for the area also includes first class business, shopping and leisure facilities and a leading IT and multimedia centre. Commercial property experts predict that 199,000 sq m of retail, leisure and office space would be delivered at Meadowhall with HS2 compared with 137,000 sq m of floorspace without HS2.

HS2 website

Images: ARUP / SYPTE

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