Leeds switch prompts fresh calls for Sheffield HS2 stations

SHEFFIELD is to press its case for a city centre high speed station after plans for Leeds station to become a major rail hub for the North were confirmed today.

How the Meadowhall station could look.

The transformed T-shaped Leeds station will allow HS2 passengers to swap quickly to local services and proposed transpennine high speed services dubbed HS3.

Revealed: Leeds city centre set for colossal revamp to accommodate HS2Sheffield has long argued that placing the proposed HS2 station for South Yorkshire at Meadowhall will limit its economic impact and that HS2 and HS3 should meet at a new station at Victoria in the city centre.

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City council leader Julie Dore said: “Transport for the North or ‘HS3’, is all about connecting city centres. For us, this means that, if HS2 is at Meadowhall, Sheffield faces the absurdity of a four-mile gap between its HS2 and HS3 stations.

“HS2 Ltd have seen sense and moved the proposed Leeds station for this very reason. We are optimistic the same logic and overwhelming economic case will prevail in Sheffield City Region.”

Sheffield’s business community has also thrown its weight behind a fresh push to have the proposed station relocated from Meadowhall despite vehement opposition from other parts of South Yorkshire.

Richard Wright, executive director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said: “Strategically we cannot afford to be marginalised as the Northern Powerhouse develops. It will not benefit anybody if Sheffield becomes a two bit player in the Manchester/Sheffield/Leeds triangle.

“I realise this opinion is not shared in all areas of the region but I would appeal that parochialism is not allowed to get in the way of maximum economic return.”

The failure to announce a decision on the South Yorkshire station was the glaring omission as the Government confirmed the western arm of HS2 north of Birmingham will reach Crewe by 2027 - six years earlier than first planned - and the change of plan in Leeds.

The revised plan for Leeds will see HS2 lines built across the River Aire close to the existing Victoria Bridge before forming a T with the current east-west lines in Leeds station.

The dramatic expansion of Leeds station will be one of the biggest urban development projects in Europe.

Gerald Jennings, president of Leeds Chamber of Commerce which lobbied with council leaders for revised station plans, said: “A single station will not only benefit Leeds but the entire region and provide the integration and connectivity which will maximise economic benefit.

“Clearly there is still much work to do but there is now a huge opportunity to think about creating breath-taking sense of arrival and make more of the waterfront around a new and improved central station.”