HS2 'plain wrong' to keep £300m Yorkshire parkway station report secret

MP John Healey says HS2 should release its feasibility study into a potential South Yorkshire parkway station.
MP John Healey says HS2 should release its feasibility study into a potential South Yorkshire parkway station.
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HS2 has refused to publish an internal report on whether plans to build a £300m parkway station in the Yorkshire countryside is feasible.

A Freedom of Information request by The Yorkshire Post was rejected on the grounds that ministers and officials need a ‘safe space’ to discuss the findings as a further study takes place.

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Eight potential locations for the station in largely rural parts of South and West Yorkshire have previously been identified as part of what is known as the ‘M18’ route running between the East Midlands and Leeds.

The line has been opposed by thousands of local residents after it was re-routed from the original plan to build a dedicated HS2 station at Meadowhall to the north of Sheffield - with the potential offer of a parkway station designed to avoid a situation where the high-speed route passes through the area but brings no economic or journey time benefits to people living in areas of Rotherham, Doncaster and Wakefield.

Labour MP John Healey, who represents the Wentworth and Dearne constituency in South Yorkshire, said today it was “plain wrong” for HS2 to keep the report secret.

While HS2 acknowledged that releasing the report, which was completed last June, would help with “facilitating public understanding of an important public project”, it ruled the information would be kept secret as further work is being undertaken on whether the potential station can go ahead.

It added: “It is in the public interest to protect the integrity of the decision-making process and allow a ‘safe space’ to do this away from public scrutiny.”

Mr Healey said: “A parkway station is essential to South Yorkshire getting any jobs and business boost, so there’s a powerful public interest in this study and it is plain wrong for HS2 to keep it secret.

“My big concern is this South Yorkshire station study is taking too long and not taking full account of the economic gains for our whole area.”

HS2 said today it remaints “committed to exploring the options for a possible parkway station”.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling will make the final decision on whether the parkway station is built.