Monday, November 25, 2013

News: Chamber supports Meadowhall HS2 station


As parliament publishes a hybrid bill for High Speed Rail (HS2), effectively the planning application for the controversial scheme, Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce has pledged its support for the proposed South Yorkshire station at Meadowhall and for the case that building work should begin in the north.

HS2 is the Government's £50 billion high speed rail project that aims to provide extra capacity to handle increasing demand. By 2033, a South Yorkshire station will be on the proposed route from London to Leeds via Birmingham and the East Midlands. With trains travelling at speeds of up to 250 mph, and each with up to 1,100 seats per train, passengers will be able to get from Leeds in 17 minutes, Birmingham in 38 minutes and from London in one hour and nine minutes.

The chamber has been broadly supportive of the proposals and the benefits the scheme is proposed to have on the UK and regional economies. A report by KPMG recently estimated that, with a proposed station at Meadowhall, Rotherham could increase its annual economic output by between £131.7m and £272.12m due to the investment in HS2 and the re-design of the existing railway infrastructure. HS2 could add between £0.5 billion and £0.9 billion each year to the economic output of South Yorkshire.

The chamber also believes that locating a station at Meadowhall would unlock the benefits of the project to the wider region, taking advantage of the connectivity with the M1 motorway and would ensure the benefits are not primarily realised by the Sheffield urban centre.

HS2 is expected to support the creation of around 5,000 jobs in the station development regeneration areas around Meadowhall and the Lower Don Valley.

Andrew Denniff, chief executive at the Chamber, said: "We must seize the opportunity of HS2 and work to ensure we get maximum benefit for South Yorkshire and the wider city region. All businesses will be better able to compete on the global stage and our economy will get a boost from the creation of jobs. In addition we have a real opportunity to enhance and improve connectivity across the City Region to maximise the economic return, both locally and nationally."

Mr Denniff is also adding to the debate on the case for the government to start building work on the massive project from the north.

He said: "Unlocking the economic and jobs potential of beginning the rail link's construction in the north will bring huge potential benefits across our region. The proposal has already received strong support across Yorkshire and there would be more immediate wider gains to the whole region from the proposed new high-speed rail connection from the north to the capital.

"Furthermore, designing, building and engineering from the north will accelerate "the economic ripple effect" regionally, as well as bringing forward opportunities for construction jobs. We must also respond to concerns already expressed about the route and the regional station for South Yorkshire to maximise economic benefits and begin to invest early to improve local rail and other transport to better connect the whole of the Sheffield City Region to HS2."

Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce website

Images: HS2


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