Wednesday, November 16, 2016

News: Region reacts to latest on HS2 route

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The HS2 route East of Rotherham looks likely to be the Government's preferred option as it confirms that the £55.7 billion project will reach the North and safeguarding and engineering reports regarding the proposed route, put forward in July, have now been released.

The Government has said that, in line with the Sir David Higgins route proposals, it proposes that "HS2 should serve Sheffield with a connection to the existing station with the main route be moved further east." This would involved a spur off the main HS2 route which would then go East of Rotherham straight to Leeds, replacing initial proposals for a through route stopping at Meadowhall. Consultation is taking place before a final decision is made next year.

Andrew Denniff, chief executive at Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce, said: "Our Chamber has consistently supported HS2 as a project along with the originally proposed route at Meadowhall which would, we believe, provide much greater connectivity and have many more stops per hour than the recently proposed branch line into Sheffield Midland.

"From a South Yorkshire perspective, the key benefits of HS2 have always been the catalyst it provides to regenerate and develop the city region's economy, but from a regional perspective the latest offer on the table from government is woefully short of achieving this and we continue to be concerned by a worrying lack of parity when it comes to investing in our region, compared to say Leeds or Manchester.

"If the government stick with the latest proposals they must also urgently look at other initiatives that will support economic growth in the region including enhanced Trans-Pennine links and improved rail connectivity to our regional airport."

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Sir Steve Houghton, Chair of Sheffield City Region Combined Authority, said: "Sheffield City Region local leaders support HS2 and recognise its importance to strong, sustained growth in our area and across the North. We will certainly be taking part in this Government consultation on the new route and we welcome this opportunity. We will also be encouraging local organisations and individuals to take this chance to have their say.

"Local leaders share concerns over the impact that the new route will have on local residents and we are currently working together on a study to examine options for a realigned route which is less disruptive to our local communities.

"We will also be asking Government to give greater certainty that both the inclusion of parkway station and the building of the northern connection to Leeds will be included as part of their plans."

Cllr. Chris Read, leader of Rotherham Council, said: "Today's announcement from the Government will only increase uncertainty and the concerns of Rotherham residents. We are clear that the proposed HS2 route would mean Rotherham suffers the disruption and down sides of such a major project, without the upsides of better connectivity and increased investment. This proposal has always been a big downgrading of the Meadowhall station option.

"I am frustrated that the Government has not made any movement to address those concerns which have been clearly expressed over the last few months. We will continue to make the case for the alternative as part of the Government's consultation.

"Kevin Barron MP, whose constituency includes affected areas of Wales, Aston, Ulley, Thurcroft, Bramley and Hellaby, said he would continue to fight for a station to be placed at Meadowhall, believing that it offers the best outcome for the South Yorkshire area as a whole. He added: "We are left with a plan that benefits very few but causes misery for many, it will have a huge negative impact on hundreds of my constituents whose houses and businesses will be affected by the proposed route."

John Healey MP, whose constituency includes affected areas of Bramley and Ravenfield, said: "If Ministers are going to consider this new route then an HS2 station in Rotherham or the Dearne must be part of the proposals.

"In a letter to me last month, the Transport Secretary committed to a South Yorkshire station study and I hope that will now go ahead early next year as promised.

"Now more than ever, the voices of local residents must be heard and so I would urge those affected to make their views known during the consultation period, and I will continue to put pressure on the Government to get the best deal for our area."

HS2 Ltd website

Images: HS2


1 comments:

Tom,  November 16, 2016 at 10:36 AM  

Rotherham MP, Sarah Champion said the Government's decision was an "absolute joke" and that they were bottling a deciosn on a SOuth Yorkshire station.

Whilst Chris Read, leader of Rotherham Council (who are backing Meadowhall as a station location) said that there was "frustration as the Government seems to edge towards HS2's second class option for Rotherham." He added that he will continue to argue the case in the consultation.

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