Posted: 26 October, 2016 at 12:39 pm

MPs urge Transport Secretary to look again at HS2 plans

South Yorkshire MPs have urged the Transport Secretary to rethink the HS2 route, in a meeting this week.

John Healey and Ed Miliband pressed Chris Grayling for a comprehensive consultation on the latest HS2 proposals, which would see a spur line off the main route into Sheffield.

The MPs argued that the previous plans for a Meadowhall station should be part of that process.

They also secured a commitment from the Transport Secretary on the importance of like-for-like compensation for homeowners whose properties will be affected by HS2.

The letter states: ‘As we made clear in the meeting, we have serious doubts about the economic benefits of the new route, which were shared by HS2 in their report Rebalancing Britain: From HS2 towards a national transport strategy in 2014. As a point of clarification these comments from Sir David Higgins were in relation to the station at Sheffield Midland and not Sheffield Victoria as appeared to be suggested by HS2 in the meeting yesterday. These comments are below for ease of reference:

“The third alternative we examined was a route which included a spur to Sheffield. This option considered a direct route via a spur terminating at Sheffield Midland station. While this provided limited benefits for the city centre market, it did not provide the connections and journey times necessary to serve the wider Sheffield city region effectively, particularly Rotherham and Barnsley. Furthermore, as Sheffield local leaders have also noted, introducing a terminating spur also removes the onward connections north to West Yorkshire and the North East provided by the current Y route.

I do not believe these alternatives could deliver the same improvements in journey time and capacity as Phase Two, nor would they deliver an equitable approach across the North or meet the vision of a truly high speed network for the country.”

If you are minded to give the go-ahead to public consultation on the new proposed HS2 route, then we would strongly reiterate our request that you consider making this a comparative consultation on both the new route with the Sheffield Midland spur and the original Meadowhall to fully investigate the economic and connectivity benefits of both routes.

If the route does go ahead, both of us were grateful for your commitment to compensation that will allow people to purchase “like-for-like” properties when their homes are under threat from HS2, as having worked closely with residents affected and community groups we know that it is of major concern.’

Read the letter and the accompanying note here:

Letter to Chris Grayling       HS2 Note