Tuesday, January 13, 2015

News: HS2 connectivity studies complete

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Transport leaders in the Sheffield city region (SCR) are moving closer to making a decision on which potential HS2 station location to support and a response is expected after the end of February.

The connectivity studies for the two locations - Meadowhall and Sheffield Victoria - have been completed to the same level of detail and will allow the city region to prepare business case estimates and more detailed cost scenarios for both locations.

Plans including the proposed location of a HS2 station at Meadowhall were announced in 2013 (pictured). The location was backed by Rotherham Council, Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber and the South Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority (SYITA) - the precursor to a Sheffield city region combined authority.

In response to the government's consultation, Sheffield City Council said that it is strongly opposed to the proposed route and believes that the current preferred station location chosen by Government is a mistake. Instead, a vision for an HS2 station at Victoria, closer to Sheffield city centre is being put forward.

The Sheffield City Region (SCR) Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has declined to commit to backing a specific site for a South Yorkshire station and instead has reiterated its stance that the location should be based on achieving the greatest economic benefit.

At the end of 2014, Sir David Higgins, chairman of HS2 Ltd, reiterated his view that Sheffield Meadowhall is the right answer for the South Yorkshire hub but admitted that the final decision is "finely balanced." The Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, said that he would wait for further evidence from representatives in the Sheffield city region (SCR) before making a final decision on the location of the proposed South Yorkshire HS2 station.

In November, South Yorkshire leaders agreed that a discussion would take place around the end of February 2015 at which consensus would be discussed with a view to being able to give a positive response to HS2 Ltd and central Government on the SCR station location.

The newly established combined authority set up a HS2 Programme Board, whose first job was to commission new reports from consultants Pell Frischmann on the two station locations. Draft outputs were presented in November and final studies were set to be presented to the HS2 Programme Board on the January 5.

Technical reports will need to be signed off by the combined authority before being publicly released and further studies are already taking place. A consortium of BDP, Ekosgen, WSP and JLL are undertaking economic regeneration and planning work.

A study is also being commissioned to present the case for early investment and completion of a transport hub combined with focused regeneration ahead of the arrival of HS2. Station designs for both locations are also being drawn up.

This week saw Transport for the North's inaugural meeting in Leeds, heralding the first step of drawing up and delivering a comprehensive programme of strategic investment which will transform the North's economic infrastructure and help maximise the region's growth potential.

The Sheffield city region is leading on the rail work stream for the interim report which is likely to propose the accelerated phasing of HS2 between Sheffield and Leeds and a high-speed east-west railway linking Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, Hull and Newcastle.

Images: HS2 Ltd

1 comments:

Mr me January 13, 2015 at 1:04 PM  

The meadowhall option is far better for Rotherham.But k ow selfish Sheffield council have to have it there own way.Rothwrham should oppose the Victoria option,think of Rotherham first!

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