Tuesday, June 12, 2018

News: SCR forced to bid for transport funds

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Whilst other mayoral regions have been guaranteed a substantial chunk of government funding for transport, the Sheffield City Region (SCR) is having to take part in a competitive scramble for the remaining cash.

A new £1.7 billion Transforming Cities Fund was announced in the Autumn Budget 2017. The majority of the fund, to improve local transport connections, was divvied up to regions which had elected mayors, for them to control and spend as they see fit. As the SCR did not have an elected mayor at the time, the combined authority has had to bid into the remaining funds to get the cash to back its new transport strategy.

A lack of consensus from the leaders of South Yorkshire's four councils denied the SCR the chance to conclude a devolution deal with the Government, but a mayoral election took place anyway and Dan Jarvis MP became the mayor of the Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield Combined Authority in May.

An application has now been submitted to the Government's Transforming Cities Fund.

At the heart of the bid, which is supported by all four local councils, is the proposal to develop a new Global Innovation Corridor that stretches across the region, linking people to key sites including Sheffield city centre, Doncaster Sheffield Airport, the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham and Barnsley's Digital Campus.

In addition, the bid seeks to improve connectivity for communities and businesses across the Dearne Valley.

If approved, cash from the Transforming Cities Fund would be spent on active travel, public transport improvements, mobility solutions and relieving congestion on key road routes. The projects would be delivered over the next four years.

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Dan Jarvis, mayor of the Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield Combined Authority, said: "We are experiencing strong economic and jobs growth, we are developing our advanced manufacturing and engineering capabilities and we have globally significant assets such as Doncaster Sheffield Airport and the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District.

"But, quite simply our transport system and its supporting infrastructure is not fit for the 21st century. Our urban centres are poorly connected, residents struggle to access major employment sites and land available for development is constrained by congestion.

"These failures in the transport system limit the flow of ideas, people and business between our urban areas and major employment sites. It is a drag on our productivity, competitiveness and a waste of the talent and skills of our workforce. The current problems must be resolved as soon as possible, which is why we have set out these ambitious but deliverable plans."

The funding was calculated per capita so whilst £243m went to Greater Manchester and £250m to the West Midlands, the political disputes in South Yorkshire may have cost the Sheffield city region around £100m of guaranteed funding.

Jarvis added: "Our major assets and capabilities provide a strong foundation for future growth. But we must make sure that our residents can get to the jobs being created, so we need effective public transport, which is affordable, well integrated and provides the services that people need.

"We must tackle congestion on our roads to improve journey times and make them more reliable. And I am determined to support active travel, by improving cycling and walking routes across the region.

"That is why it is essential that the Sheffield City Region receives a fair share of the Transforming Cities Fund. We have put forward a strong evidence based bid to the Department for Transport and I will be championing our case with Government Ministers."

Last month, Rothbiz reported on the vision for the Global Innovation Corridor. The bid is supported by transport operators and private sector partners, including major investors Peel Group and Harworth Group who are pushing the vision to expand the innovation district to other sites which they own.

Owen Michaelson, LEP board member and chief executive of Harworth Group PLC, said: "It is incredibly important that investment in property, capital equipment and skills is matched with infrastructure investment that supports people from across the region to access employment opportunities in key growth locations.

"I am very supportive of this bid for vital funding to improve our transport systems."

SCR website

Images: SCR

4 comments:

Anonymous,  June 12, 2018 at 1:19 PM  

Rothbiz
Whatever happened to the proposed ‘Rotherham Parkway Station’ the last thing I read was there was no funding available/ or they missed out on the funding ? Has the idea now been shelved ?

Tom,  June 12, 2018 at 4:21 PM  

Thanks for your comment.

"Rotherham Rail Station (Parkway)" is still a project in the Sheffield City Region's Integrated Transport Block. £112k was set aside last year for "feasibility and design of new parkway rail station in Rotherham."

This year's entry says: "This scheme is to provide additional rail capacity and improved connectivity between Rotherham and other major urban centres in the UK. A JMP report commisioned by the SCR identifying Rotherham's poor rail connnectivity to major urban centres, recommended that a new station should be constructed on the Sheffield to Doncaster main line."

Rod Laughton June 12, 2018 at 5:37 PM  

Speaking as one of the (mere fourteen) people who formally objected to the closing of Masbrough station in 1987/8, I agree that this new station is LONG overdue... I am heartbroken whenever I walk across Coronation Bridge and see the state of the old place.

Anonymous,  June 12, 2018 at 6:46 PM  

Ok thank you Rothbiz, would that be from the same fund as above ? What is the proposed location ?

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