Friday, May 17, 2019

News: SCR seeks £200m for transport schemes

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The Sheffield city region (SCR) is seeking between £170m and £210m from the Government to improve transport links and boost productivity and the economy.

Board members of the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) will hear next week an update on the transport strategy for the city region which focuses on getting residents and businesses connected to economic opportunity, creating a cleaner and greener SCR, and a safe and reliable transport network.

A series of implementation plans setting out "how" the goals and policies can be realised and Government cash is set to be key.

A £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.

Following a recent transport conference at the New York Stadium in Rotherham, the latest update shows that, having secured £4.2m earlier this year, a draft business case in being submitted next month and focuses on three key transit corridors – the Don Valley, Dearne Valley and Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District (AMID) corridors.

The bid "would unlock major improvements in transport networks across our region, with a focus on active travel and public transport at its core."

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The paper states: "SCR is seeking between £170m and £210m for a range of schemes across each corridor:

- Public Transport – a series of infrastructure improvements aimed at improving the performance of the public transport network, principally journey time, punctuality and reliability
- Active Travel – drawing on the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) and the recent appointment of an Active Travel Commissioner to start developing a network of active travel routes
- Rail – enhancing accessibility to/from and at rail stations within the SCR and interventions that support connectivity to HS2/ Northern Powerhouse Rail"

On Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) - a rapid, reliable and resilient rail network between the North's six biggest cities and other economic centres - interest is in the Sheffield to Leeds route via the Northern Loop, "which will include a potential new parkway station in Rotherham and Dearne Valley."

The need to accommodate additional HS2 and NPR services at Sheffield Midland Station means that some local services may need to be moved onto alternative networks, requiring an extension of the tram train system (underpinned by renewal of the existing tram system) beyond Rotherham into the Dearne Valley and Doncaster (and potentially to Doncaster Sheffield Airport).

Dan Jarvis, mayor of the Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield Combined Authority, discussed the three objectives for his transport vision at the recent conference. He explained: "One. Residents should be able to walk, cycle, drive or use public transport from their home to their nearest town centre in no more than 15 minutes.

"Two. By using public or private transport, people should be able to travel between the region’s major town and city centres of Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield in no more than 30 minutes.

"Three. Journey times to at least four major cities in the North, including Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham and Hull, will take no more than 75 minutes.

"Stripping everything else away, it will be these three things that drive our investment decisions from here on in."

Meanwhile, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has given direction for Sheffield and Rotherham to press ahead with proposals for a Class C Charging Clean Air Zone and additional complementary measures to address air quality.

Rothbiz reported at the end of 2018 on plans for Rotherham that include reducing speed limits on the Parkway and banning HGVs on the A629 between the town centre and junction 35 of the M1.

SCR website

Images: SCR

1 comments:

Anonymous,  May 17, 2019 at 8:57 PM  

The bit about needing to accommodate HS2 & NPR services at midland may mean other local services moving to alternative networks is slightly concerning! Does this mean Rotherham central could end up with just a tram train?

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