By Cara Stones
After a major debate on the new High Speed Two train station today it seems the overwhelming consensus is that the Sheffield’s station must be located in the city centre.
The station was originally to be located at Meadowhall after proposals from MPs.
But in a high-profile meeting at Sheffield Town Hall today, Director of Creative Sheffield Edward Highfield pointed out that there are “24% more trips from the city centre than Meadowhall”.
Mr Highfield said having the station in the centre could lead to “three times as many jobs” in the region, but he fears that “the message isn’t getting through”.
He also briefly touched on the plans for the location of HS3 and said if the HS2 wasn’t also in the centre, we would be facing the “absurdity of a 4 mile gap”.
Richard Wright, who led the debate said: “We should be ashamed of political squabbling. Business needs to rise above that”.
The previous alternative to Meadowhall had been the old Victoria station in the city centre, but as plans for Meadowhall were ridiculed, the new question raised was whether it would be more beneficial to have the HS2 run through Sheffield’s main railway rather than the old Victoria site which is currently not in use.
Henk Bouwman from the independent transport commission thought that the city centre station, also referred to as the Midland station, would be the cheaper option. It was also highlighted that train operators want the station to be in the city centre at the main station.
President of Sheffield Chamber, Jillian Thomas will be writing to the chancellor to request a review on the HS2 but we cannot say for certain when a definite decision will be made.
Justin Urquhart Stewart said: “You are building on a great history of success, but the longer you take to decide what goes on, the more you erode the confidence in what goes on…that means making decisions in a timely, effective manner”.
President of Leeds chamber of commerce, Gerald Jennings was also a speaker at the debate and gave his insight on making the move to the city centre.
Jennings said Leeds were able to get the HS2 moved “much closer to the existing railway station” after their city saw a similar campaign. After the debate he said “that was the right option for Leeds and we were successful in doing that”.