Tuesday, July 18, 2017

News: Region reacts to HS2 route confirmation

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Leaders in Rotherham and the Sheffield city region have reacted to the announcement that the Government has confirmed its chosen route of the HS2 line.

Rothbiz reported yesterday that high speed services between London and Sheffield are set to 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. These trains will also call at Chesterfield. A fast route to Leeds will be built through the East of Rotherham.

Rotherham Council registered a strong opposition during the consultation, instead backing the previous Meadowhall option.

Cllr Chris Read, Leader of Rotherham Council, said: "The government and HS2 have made the wrong decision today. The idea of major transport improvements connecting South Yorkshire to other major centres of population is an important one with potentially valuable economic benefits, and clearly something that we would support – so this proposal is a kick in the teeth.

"It is particularly disappointing that the government ignored the evidence we presented alongside Doncaster MBC which showed that this proposal involves spending an extra £1.7 billion over the lifetime of the project to deliver 70% cent fewer journey seats per hour, 25% slower journey times, and 30% fewer new jobs for our area when compared to a station at Meadowhall. It is a second class service for Rotherham.

"Residents, especially those living on or close to the route, deserved much better than this from the government and we will continue to do all that we can to ensure that their voices are heard."

Sarah Champion, MP for Rotherham said that the "Government have ignored the people of South Yorkshire over the HS2 route" and Kevin Barron, MP for Rother Valley, said of the Government that: "All they have provided is a sham consultation which clearly has no bearing on the decision, as the Minister admitted they were still only processing the consultation responses on Friday.

"The proposed route will result in slower journey times, fewer, smaller trains, and will not provide the economic benefits to the wider region in comparison to the previous Meadowhall option. I will continue to fight this decision as it will ruin homes and businesses across large parts of the Rother Valley."

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With services set to head into Sheffield city centre, Cllr. Julie Dore, leader of Sheffield City Council, said: "We have always believed that our region's HS2 station must be located where the greatest economic impact, transport benefits and job creation will be delivered – and that is in Sheffield city centre.

"A city centre location is vital to ensuring Sheffield is well placed to maximise the benefits of HS2 – but this must extend to the north as well as to the south.

"We must enable high speed journeys to continue north of Sheffield. While we welcome the fact that HS2 have committed to funding a junction, we will be seeking further commitments from Government to ensure that the connection north of Sheffield is funded to enable high speed connections out of Midland and up to places like Leeds and Newcastle.

"We're fighting hard for radically better connections to Leeds and Manchester as well as London. A city centre location is essential for the development of Sheffield’s future connectivity between cities in the north. Locating HS2 at Midland allows us to integrate HS2 with HS3 and it is now important that government commit to funding the improvements for 30 minute city centre to city centre connectivity between Sheffield and Leeds and Sheffield and Manchester that is crucial to achieve the aims of Transport for the North."

The LEP, which brings together business leaders and local politicians to make decisions that drive economic growth and create new jobs, and the Combined Authority, which provides the legal powers, have always been vocal in their support for HS2 coming to the Sheffield city region (SCR).

Sir Nigel Knowles, Chair of the Sheffield City Region LEP, said: "The Government's HS2 route decision will give confidence to local businesses and an economic boost to the region's economy. HS2 will bring transformational change to our region as we work together to build a thriving, super-connected and successful economy. To realise its true potential, HS2 must be fully integrated with wider plans for Northern Powerhouse Rail which will bring fast, frequent connections to from Sheffield to Leeds, Manchester and the North."

A spokesperson for the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority, added: "The decision on where our HS2 station will be located in Sheffield has finally been made by Government. From this point on we will endeavour to move forward together, working with our local communities and with Government to make the most of this economic opportunity. The line will have a negative impact on some residents and we will work together to support those communities."

HS2 Ltd website

Images: HS2 Ltd


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