The man in charge of HS2 has said a new parkway station on Yorkshire’s high-speed rail route “should happen” – but has warned it is down to local leaders to agree its location following a bitter row over the location of Sheffield’s site.
In January, HS2 identified eight potential options for a new parkway station that would either be based around Wakefield, Doncaster or Rotherham, sitting on the main HS2 Phase 2b route that currently will run between Leeds and a ‘hub’ station near East Midlands Airport.
Sir David Higgins, chairman of HS2, said that has now been reduced to three possible options based on feedback from local politicians – but it would be for Yorkshire’s MPs and council leaders to come up with a final solution.
He told The Yorkshire Post HS2 did not want to get dragged into a similar row after a battle between South Yorkshire’s councils over the now-scrapped Meadowhall HS2 station plan.
“As far as we are concerned, it should happen. But it is up to Yorkshire. Having been caught in the fight about where the Meadowhall or Sheffield station should be for a frustrating two years, we don’t want to be caught in the same argument over the parkway. There are three options that have been put forward, all with roughly the same costs.”
He said it was now down to local leaders to come up with a unified decision.
A spokeswoman for HS2 said it was “unable to disclose” details of the potential locations and estimated costs for the parkway station as work continues with local councils and the Sheffield City Region combined authority.
Final plans are due to be submitted to Parliament in 2019.
In January 2013, the Government announced it intended a new HS2 station would be built at Meadowhall, close to the shopping centre to the north of Sheffield.
Sheffield Council instead campaigned for a new city centre station and the Meadowhall option was scrapped in 2016 in favour of HS2’s cheaper option of adopting the existing city centre station to support high-speed trains.
The changes mean Sheffield is now not on the main HS2 route and trains to London will take longer than those from Leeds 40 miles to the north, while running less frequently. The revised route will now run through previously-unaffected parts of Doncaster and Rotherham which are currently without their own station.
Since then, Barnsley and Doncaster councils have withdrawn their support for a £900m Sheffield City Region devolution deal with their South Yorkshire partners in the hope of being able to join an alternative ‘One Yorkshire’ idea with other regional councils that is yet to win Government support.