South Yorkshire MPs slam new high-speed rail link route as 'badly thought out'

HS2 rail link.
HS2 rail link.

South Yorkshire's MPs have slammed the proposed new HS2 route as 'badly thought out'.

An initial plan would have seen the £56bn high-speed rail network stop at a newly built station at Meadowhall shopping centre but this was scrapped over traffic fears and concerns about knocking down part of the shopping outlet. Reopening Sheffield's Victoria Station was also deemed to be too expensive and there were concerns over potential flooding.

The new route.

The new route.

The new route under consideration involves a 5.5 mile ‘spur’ close to the M18 into Sheffield’s existing railway station - off a route running closer to Rotherham and Doncaster which project leaders say will be around £900m cheaper than the Meadowhall option.

But this has caused controversy as it would result in a number of properties being demolished on the Shimmer Estate in Mexborough, Doncaster, to make way for the trainline.

But in a joint submission to the Government, MPs from Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield have made clear their opposition to the new proposed route.

Ed Miliband, Kevin Barron, Caroline Flint, John Healey, Angela Smith and Rosie Winterton joined forces to send the Government a blistering assessment of their proposal.

The MPs claim moving the route will not save money and would result in longer journey times. They are calling for a return to the Meadowhall option, which they claim a report shows will lead to 45 per cent more jobs created and a greater economic benefit to South Yorkshire of up to 75 per cent.

In a joint statement, they said: "It is clear that by every test the new M18 spur route is not in the best interests of the South Yorkshire region.

"The new 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.

"We believe the case for this route is clear and decisive. The reality is that the M18 route is a badly thought out, ill-judged compromise option which nobody outside HS2 truly supports."

Their opposition comes after Rotherham Council chiefs also submitted their objection to the new route.

The Government said the new option would save money and result in the need for less properties to be demolished along the route.