Doncaster Council backs Meadowhall station option for high speed rail line

Councillor Jonathan Wood

Councillor Jonathan Wood

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Doncaster Council is committed to a high speed rail line through Meadowhall Station.

The council says there are greater economic and employment benefits from the Meadowhall option.

Councillors voted to endorse a report into the line at the monthly meeting last week.

The report outlines the HS2 options in the Sheffield city region.

It says the full connectivity to London, Leeds, Birmingham, York and Newcastle, at high speed, makes Meadowhall the best option for the route.

Having the high-speed line station there, it said, would provide access to the centre of the Sheffield city region economy.

Its case is further strengthened by tram, rail and road connections, the report said.

The Meadowhall station will be 69 minutes from London and 15 minutes from Leeds. Five trains per hour will pass through the station, the report said.

A spur line to Sheffield city centre would add 15 minutes onto the journey, and would include a stop at Chesterfield.

The report said the spur line will be too expensive, and won’t provide benefits for Doncaster residents.

There would be, it said, a 75 per cent greater economic benefit by having the line come through Meadowhall.

Councillor Jonathan Wood slammed the spur line option.

He said it ‘drives a stake’ through the council’s planning policy, in terms of the green belt.

“It makes a mockery of all the policies we put together and try so hard to deliver,” Coun Wood said.

Coun Wood said it was clear that Meadowhall was the best option for the high speed line.

“It should be, and is all about, connectivity at Meadowhall,” he said.

Councillor Chris McGuinness agreed.

“What’s on the table is not a good deal,” he said.

“It’s certainly not a good deal for residents of Mexborough.”

He said Sheffielders weren’t getting the best deal, either.

“It beggars belief that anyone could sell this as a good deal to Sheffield, on the end of a slow line,” Coun McGuinness said.

The report said the spur line would have a ‘devastating effect’ on Mexborough residents and ‘visual and noise’ impacts at Barnburgh.

It said the costs of a parkway station for commuters hadn’t been factored in, and the operating costs of the route would be higher.

The report said that option would provide no benefit for Doncaster residents.

The councillors were unanimous in their backing of the report, with 44 votes for, none against and no abstinations.

Councillor Rachel Blake pushed for a quick decision on the route, so residents in affected areas ‘could get on with their lives’.

The deadline for consultation responses to the HS2 options is Thursday.