Monday, July 10, 2017

News: Rotherham presses case as HS2 decision approaches

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Based on the original timetable, the Transport Secretary is set to make a final decision on the HS2 route through South Yorkshire this month, and representatives in Rotherham continue to press their case on where it should go.

The independent National Infrastructure Commission also recently called on the Government to publish the finalised route for Phase 2b of the HS2 scheme by the end of this month, along with details of the connections with Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR or HS3) and letting the major work contracts for the project.

Writing to the minister that will make the decision, South Yorkshire MPs whose constituencies are affected by changes to the route continue to make it clear that they believe that the new M18 route is not in the best interests of the region.

The Government is minded to approve a new proposed route between Birmingham and Leeds, switching from a route into a new station at Sheffield Meadowhall with a new option that proposes that HS2 services between London and Sheffield would take a spur off the new north-south high speed line and travel directly to the existing Sheffield Midland station using the existing railway line.

Consultation ended earlier this year on the HS2 line to Leeds that would travel east of Rotherham following the M1 and M18 before heading through the Dearne Valley.

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In a letter to Chris Grayling, John Healey, the Wentworth and Dearne MP, said that the Meadowhall route would mean faster journey times, more capacity, less disruption to local communities, better connections with Rotherham and Barnsley and better prospects for regeneration and jobs.

He added: "HS2 can bring benefits to our region, and we want a route that achieves and maximises this – helping close the north-south divide, connect communities and reduce inequalities.

"The M18 route has limited ambitions for South Yorkshire and does not have support from residents and authorities. With no confirmed station stop on the route, our region would get the worst of all worlds – the disturbance of HS2 running right through but not even stopping in South Yorkshire.

"I urge you to return to the original route and the one which will most benefit South Yorkshire – Meadowhall."

In a letter to Paul Maynard, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rail, Accessibility and HS2, Kevin Barron, the MP for Rother Valley, made similar points on areas of South Yorkshire "taking all the disruption but receiving none of the benefits."

Barron has also been critical of a recent decision by HS2 Ltd to offer £30,000 to residents of the blighted Shimmer estate in nearby Mexborough before a route has been confirmed. The MP described the Government of "leaving people in the dark over plans which could destroy their homes."

Cllr. Chris Read, leader of Rotherham Council, has also recently reiterated his and the Council's stance on the route. In September, the authority reiterated its preference for the South Yorkshire HS2 station at Meadowhall, stating that not enough information was available on the M18 proposals.

A joint letter with Ros Jones, the Mayor of Doncaster, sets out that a Classic Compatible spur service to Sheffield is of limited benefit to the city centre.

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The letter reads: "We are certainly supportive of the need to grow the economy of Sheffield, and recognise the importance that the city plays in the economic success of our region. However, most people in South Yorkshire live in the boroughs of Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham. Over the last five years, these boroughs have provided both the majority of economic output in South Yorkshire, and have seen faster levels of economic growth than Sheffield. Whilst additional support for Sheffield's economy is clearly important and welcome, economic growth in these other areas must also be supported.

"It is therefore imperative that HS2 delivers the maximum benefit to our region as a whole, including the majority of its residents and business, not just those in Sheffield.

"Our ambitions, for our people and our place, are much greater than those set out in the proposals for a Classic Compatible spur service to Sheffield, with no main line HS2 station. We hope that you have similar ambitions for our region, our businesses and our residents."

Images: HS2 Ltd


3 comments:

Anonymous,  July 10, 2017 at 1:56 PM  

Sheffield/Rotherham council should concentrate on Sheffield to London mainline
and scrap HS2 - to save jobs, businesses and people's homes
Long term economics will tell what a complete waste of money and disruption it has been...

Anonymous,  July 11, 2017 at 8:57 AM  

If the HS2 documents can be believed then I suggest that the Meadowhall Barnsley route is not an option. They picked the wrong route. However, it is not the route that is the problem, it is the entire scheme. South Yorkshire would be far better off if a fraction of the money was spent on improving transport within the region not on connecting to other places.

Anonymous,  July 11, 2017 at 9:03 AM  

HS2 is a huge confidence trick. NO business case for this gravy train.200 billion + is the figure now being bandied around...of TAXPAYERS money to build it, never mind the subsidies that will have to be paid by future generations.This project is all about land grabs and lining the pockets of vested interests.IF it is such a good idea why aren't the private sector funding it see above!

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