BRING high-speed rail to Sheffield city centre is the call from a group of businesses and politicians.
Details of the proposed route for the line north from Birmingham to Sheffield and Leeds have not yet been revealed, but campaigners are urging ministers to look at using the old Victoria Station site above the Wicker arches.
They say tracks could be built in a straight line into and out of the city centre - vital for high speeds - and partially using existing trackbeds which would mean less disruption than building a new route.
Wicker firms and opposition Liberal Democrat members of Sheffield Council believe a route using the old Victoria Station, which closed in 1970, would ‘regenerate the area and maximise economic benefits to the city centre’.
Other ideas include a station in the lower Don Valley, but campaigners say it would mean many passengers having further to travel to catch trains, reducing the time saving from the high-speed line.
Ellie Bennett, from Wicker Chemist, said: “This is a great idea both for the Wicker area and Sheffield as a whole.
“We have to plan for the future to ensure the city centre will thrive in the years to come and a high-speed rail link would bring business and prosperity to Sheffield.”
Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, Liberal Democrat group leader on the council, said: “We believe the new station should be located as close to the city centre as possible. The Victoria site would be perfect.
“Locating the station somewhere like Meadowhall would see passengers travel four miles out of the city, therefore the improved journey time to London would be negated.
“As well as maximising the economic benefit for Sheffield and the region, having the station in this area would provide an opportunity for much-needed regeneration.”
The Lib Dems are proposing a motion at Wednesday’s full council meeting calling for the council to throw its weight behind a campaign to use the Victoria site.
Ruling Labour councillors have also voiced interest in the Victoria Station idea.