Friday, October 6, 2023

News: Region reacts to PM's transport announcements


The Mayor of South Yorkshire says that the Prime Minister's "Network North" plan lacks clarity and detail and throws previous transport promises into chaos.

This week Rishi Sunak confirmed that HS2 will not continue beyond Birmingham and instead funding would be directed to "revolutionise transport across the North and Midlands."

The government's new Network North includes a new mainline station for Rotherham that will be added to the route between Sheffield and Leeds and a new station at Waverley, also in Rotherham. Both schemes have been previously backed by the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA).

Responding to the announcements, South Yorkshire's Mayor Oliver Coppard said: "I'm deeply concerned. The Prime Ministers announcement to scrap HS2 creates huge uncertainty for transport plans across South Yorkshire and the rest of the north.

"New promises with very little clarity about how or when money will be made available. Projects and priorities were chosen with no consultation: a new shopping list created but no details of how it will check out.

"The precedent is that the Government don’t deliver for the North. How can we trust this new plan? Since 2019 alone we have been promised HS2 in full, Northern Powerhouse Rail in Full, an Integrated Rail Plan, a London Style Transport System and Levelling-Up.

"Following the PM’s HS2 announcement, every single one of those promises has been thrown into chaos, whilst failing to solve a single problem today."

Coppard has asked for more clarity around bus funding, land safeguarded for HS2, how to 'quadruple' services between Sheffield and Leeds, the prospect of HS2 trains reaching the region without new tracks, the Hope Valley upgrade and services between Sheffield and Manchester, the Don Valley line and the future of the region's airport, given that regional airports were not mentioned in the plan.

He added: "You can’t spend billions of pounds without worked up plans. The government has cancelled one plan. When will it bring forward its next? We have no details on any of the schemes in SY."

The plan also adds that all six Northern city regions will receive more than double their initial City Region Sustainable Transport Settlements (CRSTS) funding to improve connectivity in their areas, stating that there would be £1.4 billion for South Yorkshire, including £500m from savings from HS2 and the CRSTS.

Following the announcement, Alexander Stafford, MP for Rother Valley, said: "I am personally incredibly pleased that finally common sense has prevailed and the huge amounts of money being funnelled into HS2 will actually be spent instead improving local and regional connectivity."

Clive Watkinson, Chair, Barnsley & Rotherham transport group said: "HS2 was always about capacity rather than speed and our support for it was always based on the benefits to the South Yorkshire economy.

"That support lapsed when the North East part of the line had the South Yorkshire station removed, lumbering us with the massive disruption of construction without any local benefits.

"We therefore welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement of the cancellation of the project north of Birmingham and his commitment (which we will hold him to) of these massive savings being spend on major new projects in the North.

"In particular, we welcome his commitments to east-west links rather than north-south links and his emphasis on a more rounded transport policy in the north rather than a focus solely on public transport.

"We want to see more details on the projects announced and will lobby to maximise the benefits for our South Yorkshire economy."

The issue of safegaurding land for HS2 was raised at Rotherham Council's full council this week.

Cllr. Chris Read, leader of Rotherham Council, said: "None of us wants to see that M18 route being built through the borough. We think that there are no advantages and would be considerable disadvantages to that happening.

"Clearly after today's announcement [by the prime minister], we are going to be having a look and making sure that the full benefits of that do reach our residents.

I'm conscious, for example, that the safeguarding land issue was not resolved 18 months ago when the government said that it wasn't going ahead with this route. And the railways minister wrote to me the other week and said that was still an option to built that route, but again. that has changed this morning.

"We are going to have to wait for the dust to settle."

Rotherham MP Sarah Champion has welcomed the announcement regading the £12m station at Waverley. She said: "This would hugely improve Waverley's transport infrastructure and I will continue to push the Government to deliver it in a timely fashion."

The project is primarily focused on connections to Sheffield but could also lead to more services towards Worksop and Gainsborough. It is being funded to delivery, subject to updates to the business case, and links to the reopening of the Barrow Hill Line to passengers.

Images: Google Maps


Anonymous,  October 6, 2023 at 4:15 PM  

Asking Sunak for clarity and detail is like asking Boris Johnson for the truth.

Anonymous,  October 19, 2023 at 12:55 PM  

Or guessing what Kiers policies will be today!

Supported by:
More news...

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP