The deputy leader of Sheffield City Council, Coun Leigh Bramall believes there is a “credible and compelling” case for HS2 to scrap its Meadowhall proposal and instead build a new station in the heart of Sheffield.
Coun Bramall, the council’s Cabinet Member for Business, Skills and Development, also feels calling the station a “HS2 hub” is a misnomer which the Government has helped cultivate to support its plans to build the station at Meadowhall.
“It’s not the HS2 South Yorkshire hub, the facility in question is the ‘Sheffield City Region Station’,” he said. “That’s a very important distinction to make.
“HS2 is happy to refer to it as a hub because it helps close down the argument for the station being in Sheffield city centre.
“The Government acknowledges that the north of Chesterfield, east Sheffield and west Doncaster are going to be high demand areas for HS2 services and a station in the city centre is more accessible for them. Meadowhall is on the wrong side of the city.
“The case for a city centre station should be based on where you get the maximum economic uplift for HS2. If it’s about growth and contributing to the Northern Powerhouse then a city centre station makes for a very strong argument.
“All the reasons that the Government gave for abandoning the plan to build a new out-of-town station in Leeds and instead focusing on the city centre equally apply to Sheffield.
“There is much greater potential for job creation by having the station in a city centre, as HS2 acknowledged with its decision about Leeds station. Why do we deserve to have thousands fewer jobs by building the station at Meadowhall?
“Geography is very important: Rotherham and Sheffield are one economy. Thousands of people commute between the two locations as if they are the same city.
“Many of the new jobs that would be created by having the station at Meadowhall would be in retail and would be likely to displace current retail jobs in places like Rotherham.
“In Sheffield the new jobs will primarily be in business and professional financial services, just the sort of highly paid jobs that this area needs. Businesses and professional service companies want to relocate to city centre locations.”
Coun Bramall said the additional costs associated with building the new station in the city centre rather than Meadowhall were not prohibitive and could easily be met.
“Both schemes need connectivity and the cost for both is roughly the same,” he said. “There is no sign the Government will come up with a connectivity budget for either location but the money has to come from somewhere.
“We believe there will be a major uplift in revenues from business rates from the business and professional services companies who will be attracted to the city centre.
“The critical point is that all the figures point to the fact that the centre of Sheffield is the best place for HS2 to achieve its aim of growing the economy.
“I think the case for a Sheffield city region station in the centre of Sheffield is both credible and compelling.”