BREAKING: HS2 route to go via Sheffield city centre and Dearne Valley
Ministers have confirmed HS2 will feature a spur through Sheffield city centre, with the main line cutting through the Dearne.
The Government has announced its planned route today - with a spur leaving the main line just before Chesterfield, and then going through Sheffield city centrem before linking back with the main route further north.
The main high speed line will go through the Dearne Valley, meaning 16 houses in the Shimmer estate in Mexborough will have to be demolished.
Confirming the news in a document presented today, the Department for Transport stated: "The route in South Yorkshire will be the route consulted in 2016 which in part follows the M1 and M18, serves Sheffield City Centre via a spur from the HS2 line and includes provision for a northern junction allowing trains to run between Sheffield and Leeds city centres using HS2."
The Government says the route will be cheaper then the alternative route which had originally proposed, which would have gone via Meadowhall and had been favoured by Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham's politicians.
Reaction to the news has been split between Sheffield and the rest of South Yorkshire, with senior figures in Sheffield welcoming the announcement, and those in the rest of the county critical of the move.
Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Sheffield Cllr. Shaffaq Mohammed said: "The Sheffield Liberal Democrats welcome this news. Local Lib Dem councillors and former MP for Sheffield Hallam Nick Clegg have been campaigning for a city centre station which independent research has shown will bring thousands more jobs to South Yorkshire than the alternative at Meadowhall.
“When the discussions around HS2 were first announced, I was one of the first politicians in Sheffield to argue for a Sheffield city centre location. Sheffield is united in its support for HS2 in the city centre. I hope that all South Yorkshire politicians will now get behind this plan which will help unlock the economic potential of Sheffield City Region."
Adam Murray of Sheffield developer Coda Planning tweeted: "HS2 city centre station confirmed! Not perfect in all aspects but city centre to city centre vital to the success of this for #Sheffield."
Sheffield Business Improvement District, an organisation aiming to improve business environment in the town centre said the route will provide two trains an hour between Sheffield City Centre and London. It will slash journey times between Sheffield and the South of England., and said it wholeheartedly supported the announcement
They believe HS2 must be located in the city centre as it can provide the greatest economic impact, connectivity and job opportunities and that the announcement will help redress the imbalance between transport services in the North and the South.
Diane Jarvis, Sheffield BID Manager said: “This is a significant boost for investment and business confidence. The decision supports longer-term regeneration and economic development.
“One of the BID’s aims is to create a vibrant city centre that attracts more visitors and benefits residents, businesses and employees. The visitor economy is growing quickly thanks to the Outdoor City reputation and hosting of world class events.
“But HS2 doesn’t just benefit the visitor economy. It is also vital to encourage businesses to invest in or relocate to Sheffield. A city centre location with good public realm and quality office space will attract inward investment from major employers who want to benefit from HS2 high speed stations, lower costs and fast access to the Capital.”
Doncaster North MP Ed Miliband, whose constituency includes the Mexborough which faces demolitions of homes, said: "Today's decision on HS2 is wrong and perverse. It flies in the face of evidence, logic, and above all, the economic needs of South Yorkshire.
"The Meadowhall route would be better for jobs, regeneration, journey times, connectivity and for tackling the inequalities we face.
"We now know that the consultation was 15:1 against the M18 route but it has been ignored.
"The government and HS2 should be ashamed about the way they have gone about this decision. Their arguments do not add up, the consultation was a sham, and the residents have been ignored.
"Chris Grayling has added insult to injury by failing to come to the House of Commons to justify his decision and trying to sneak out a written statement. I will be seeking to force him to come and explain himself tomorrow.
"While this decision is obviously a bitter blow, I will continue to explore all the ways to overturn this decision and work with residents to do that. I will do everything I can to get the best outcome for my constituents.
"I will keep fighting for my constituents against a government and HS2 that seek to ride roughshod over them."
Rotherham MP Sarah Champion stated on Twitter: "Furious!! Just got email from Grayling confirming HS2 will follow the M18 route which means S Yorkshire won't get a proper stop."
Rother Valley MP Sir Kevin Barron MP said: “I am very disappointed that the Government has ignored overwhelming evidence to recommend the M18 route for South Yorkshire today. The fact that neither the Transport Secretary nor the HS2 Minister turned up today to answer questions regarding the route announcement. This tells you all you need to know about their belief in this decision.
Today is another example of the Government showing contempt for the people of South Yorkshire as they have also broken another promise about meeting residents affected by the route prior to any decision.
All they have provided is a sham consultation which clearly had no bearing on the decision, as the Minister admitted they were still only processing the consultation responses on Friday.
The proposed route will result in slower journey times, fewer, smaller trains and will not provide the economic benefits to the wider region in comparison to the previous Meadowhall option. I will continue to fight this decision as it will ruin homes and businesses across large parts of Rother Valley.”