9 March 2017
Sheffield City Council has given support to HS2 Ltd proposals to provide a city centre HS2 connection that will enhance the economy and employment but have stressed that the government must ensure its high-speed route extends north as well as south.
The council has joined business leaders in welcoming the proposal to bring HS2 trains into Sheffield Midland and will continue to press for the connection to loop north to Leeds and other northern cities and form part of HS3, which will connect city centres across the North.
It comes as a consultation over the proposed new location, announced by HS2 last year, comes to an end today, Thursday March 9.
Councillor Julie Dore, Leader of Sheffield City Council, said: “Sheffield City Council has 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.
“We still fundamentally believe that a brand new station at Victoria would provide the best solution for the whole of the city region, including delivering the aims of Transport for the North, but this proposal that HS2 are now looking at is a much better option than the previous Meadowhall proposal.
“We have always said that a city centre location delivers the benefits we are looking for – but this must extend to the north as well as to the south. Our support is conditional on key commitments being delivered one of which is the Northern loop connection. We are therefore calling on HS2 Ltd to clarify its timetable for this.”
Councillor Dore, responding to the consultation, wants HS2 Ltd to address five points in its plans:
- That HS2 fully integrates and complements with the city centre HS3 connection with a northern loop and junction in place to enable high speed journeys to continue north of Sheffield.
- That HS2’s economic growth potential is maximised through the selection and design of the route and stations in city centres.
- That route and station designs are fully funded to ensure that future capacity and growth in passenger numbers is not compromised;
- That HS2’s growth potential across Sheffield City Region is realised by ensuring appropriate local connectivity is in place and by harnessing the project to drive skills development and stimulate innovation and capacity.
- That the potential negative impacts of the route and station are managed in the most effective way and with appropriate scheduling, good communication and engagement with local partners, and a proactive approach to assessment and payment of compensation to affected parties.
Richard Wright, Executive Director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce & Industry, said: “Sheffield, like many other cities across the north, is poorly-served by train connectivity. Whilst a number of short-term actions can improve the current services HS2 offers a real opportunity to deliver long term solutions. This is why we have always supported HS2 as a solution to capacity and connectivity to Europe and less around shaving a few minutes off journey times, although those benefits are welcome.
“Sheffield Chamber and other partners campaigned hard for a city centre location to both address the issues above but also because we are convinced from all the data available that a city centre location gives the best economic uplift for the region, not just the city of Sheffield. The Meadowhall location did not do that and has subsequently proved extremely problematic anyway because of the particular issues associated with the site.
“Our preferred option still remains a station at Victoria on the main line north to south but we are supporting the current proposal from HS2 as a pragmatic solution best balancing cost and benefit. To deliver this through the loop north, with journey times between Sheffield and Leeds centres below 30 minutes, is just as critical as the route south.
“Sheffield City Region is becoming attractive to investors as the recent announcements from McLaren, Boeing, The Floow and Chinese investors have shown. That can soon change if future investments on infrastructure are not on a par with other cities. A strong city with first class connectivity, within a strong region served by good local linkages is, in our opinion, critical to our future success.”