09/30/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 09/30/2019 04:36
Mayor Ros Jones and Cllr Chris Read have met Douglas Oakervee, who is leading the HS2 review, and restated their position to go back to the original Meadowhall option or fundamentally reconsider the eastern leg.
The two leaders have been deeply concerned at the recent announcement of rising costs and extended timescales for completing HS2. This is another devastating blow for residents and communities who are set to see more properties demolished than originally claimed.
Rising costs could also mean HS2 will put minimum mitigations and environmental protections in place which would be wholly unacceptable. It could also impact the funding available to deliver vital rail investment programmes such as Northern Powerhouse Rail and essential local upgrades.
Mayor Ros Jones said:
'Delivering HS2 must not come at the expense of other vital rail investment in the north or measures to protect communities. That would be a betrayal of our region and the Government's commitment to rebalance the national economy. We are set to see mass demolitions to have HS2 pass through our region with negligible beneficial impact for our residents, communities and economy. It's all pain and no gain.
'Passengers and services in our region are suffering now. We can't wait another 20 years to deliver much needed rail improvements. We need to go back to the Meadowhall option or seriously look at the planned eastern leg.'
Cllr Chris Read, Leader of Rotherham Council, said:
'The current HS2 proposal offers little or no economic benefit to the Rotherham borough and its businesses. We need either a Meadowhall stop or we call on the Government to scrap the development all together rather than build it in a way that will cause years of disruption at massive cost, and instead reallocate the savings to fund essential improvements to regional rail connectivity through the Northern Powerhouse Rail.'
The call comes amid the latest train performance figures, which show that over the last 12 weeks:
The two leaders argue the current Sheffield spur option for HS2 delivers a second-class solution for South Yorkshire:
The proposed spur route cannot be properly delivered without the Northern Powerhouse Rail package of investment measures otherwise there are no services to Leeds and the north-east from the terminating HS2 spur at Sheffield. This cost would be on top of the stated HS2 costs.