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19.02.16

Sheffield businesses call for independent review of HS2 hub options

Business leaders from the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) are calling for an independent economic review into the decision of the city’s HS2 hub location in a letter to the transport secretary and the chancellor.

Speaking at an HS2 summit held yesterday in Sheffield, SCCI executive director, Richard Wright, told the audience: “This shouldn’t be about one set of stakeholders arguing with others – business has got to rise above that.

“I encourage you to add your business names to the appendix of our letter. HS2 will, without doubt, have enormous implications for the future economy of the region.

“We’ve got to get behind the right decision, because, while we’re bickering, the final decision will be made later this year. We can’t afford to end up with the wrong location.”

Other business leaders present at the event backed the chamber’s decision to make the case for an HS2 hub on the site of the old Victoria station near the city centre, rather than at the out-of-town Meadowhall shopping centre.

Paul Houghton, Grant Thornton’s senior partner in Sheffield, argued that “a growing weight of the city region’s business community is keen to press government to review the options and back the solution which will deliver the best regeneration potential and transport connectivity for the region”.

“The next four to five months will be crucial in creating a broad consensus across the entire city region and Grant Thornton is committed to working with all relevant stakeholders in this regard,” he added.

During the event, held at the Memorial Hall, several guest speakers discussed the city’s options in a debate and Q&A session.

One of those present was Henk Bouwman, who is currently working for the Independent Transport Commission consulting on the spatial impact of high-speed rail on UK cities.

But he was speaking from a broader European capacity at the summit, sharing his experience of high-speed rail stations and infrastructure projects in Lille, Bordeaux and Rotterdam.

“In real terms, 2065 is tomorrow,” he said, adding that the HS2 hub will be Sheffield’s “address on a national and European level and it should represent a Metropolitan region”.

The president of the Leeds Chamber of Commerce, Gerald Jennings, shared his experiences with the city’s HS2 station decision, which had the agreement of the LEP, local authorities and the chamber.

But despite this collective inclination towards a hub in the old Victoria station site, the Meadowhall location remains the government’s preferred location, according to the latest DfT documents. Calculations on the reductions in journey times across the HS2 network also take just the Meadowhall site into consideration.

802 sheffield hs2 2

Comments

Lutz   19/02/2016 at 19:28

An independent economic review at this stage would put the project back by up to 18 months. However, I think they have a good case, and it is a shame that Birmingham did not take a similar stand.

Graham Nalty   20/02/2016 at 15:06

Well done Sheffield for standing up to HS2 Ltd. and their ill advised station choice at Meadowhall. But surely it is time for the Government to update their remit to HS2 Ltd. to instruct them to develop HS2 as an integral part of the national rail network and to provide station locations that deliver the best economic growth for the area they serve. But if Meadowhall is wrong for South Yorkshire, then the proposed Crewe parkway 2 miles south of Crewe is wrong for Staffordshire and Cheshire. Far better to spend the money on developing the Etruria HS2 interchange in Stoke on Trent which provides development in a brownfield area in the middle of a large population. So far HS2 Ltd. has ignored both Sheffield and Stoke on Trent, two of Britain's largest cities. That needs to change if the UK is to benefit from HS2.

Michael Wand   20/02/2016 at 21:32

Adding to Graham Nalty's post, another wrong station for HS2 is Manchester Piccadilly, a buffer-stops terminus. Manchester as a powerhouse centre, however, needs HS2 to have a city centre through-station and easy cross-platform interchanges to other powerhouse area rail routes: Victoria station, in my book. It opens up the prospect of a cross-Pennine Northern Cities Crossrail, which Piccadilly does not.

Chris   20/02/2016 at 21:40

I can't believe people are still obsessing over Victoria, it's poor connectivity simply benefits one are of Sheffield while hurting the others and the surrounding region while slowing through passengers - madness.

Graham Nalty   21/02/2016 at 11:27

Michael Ward makes a very good point about Manchester Victoria. I do seem to remember a report by a business organisation in which a comment by a senior executive was quoted as saying ' there is no much advantage in getting to Manchester from London in an hour if it takes another hour to Rochdale'. My thoughts are that HS2 should tunnel under the city from Piccadilly to Victoria (for connections to Rochdale, Burnley etc. and then proceed north to Preston and Glasgow. That would really help to fill the seat and justify the cost of HS2. In response to Chris, I would say that the new Victoria needs to be east of the old station site so it straddles the Midland main line which would have 4 platforms for connecting trains, giving much superior connectivity to Meadowhall. But now that Sheffield has proved the case for a city centre station, perhaps the case for bring high speed trains to Sheffield can be examined - it may be more expensive, but perhaps not as expensive as the approaches to Manchester Piccadilly.

Stuart B   22/02/2016 at 07:50

I have no faith in Sheffield city council. If the midland station isn't an option, trying to locate at Victoria is a joke. It is not served by bus or tram and the traffic at the end of the parkway at peak hours is a nightmare, plus no parking. It isn't either in the city a centre and a strenuous uphill walk. Surely Meadowhall would be better. A 5 min train to the city centre, catch the train or bus to a variety of locations, easy to get to by car, space to park. Easier for our friends in Rotherham, Barnsley and Donny to use. 5 mins to Sheffield station which would benefit. The strength of London is easy access to numerous stations and growth points. Why are we trying to put all our eggs in one basket?.. The council should be trying to get a motorway to Manchester and use the 'outrage' of hs2 being located in the right location at Meadowhall to achieve this

Paulp   22/02/2016 at 12:42

To select Victoria as the city station for HS2 in Sheffield is pure folly. There are no links to or from the station to other transport systems such as the tram / bus / or rail network. Even if HS3 was to come into being that would be to and from Midland station and not Victoria. HS2 has to interlink with other established hubs in the region be it Midland or Meadowhall. I suppose one compromise would be (as an earlier contributor commented) to have it straddle the line out of Sheffield to Meadowhall so that there was at least a link to established networks.

Banklineman   10/03/2016 at 20:12

Sheffield Victoria is the better location,it is better placed to attract jobs and commerce,its geographically in the correct place to access the best route over the pennines via the Woodhead with a junction to the east of Penistone to form the HS2/HS3 route the "Northern Powerhouse" In the grand scheme of the project a couple of road junction altererations around Park Square, realignment of a tram line and building car park facilities along with interchange station with the MML under the platforms of the New Victoria stations extended platforms is a walk in the park. If the HS2 company are prepared to build miles of extra tunnelling under the Chiltern's to (Protect the View!!) surely a city of 500,000 pop with surrounding area 1.6million pop can justify a city centre station, I don't recommend the Avignon experience ie Parkway Stations.

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