The company behind the high speed rail project has confirmed it intends to change the route through South Yorkshire.
HS2 Limited is proposing to run the main HS2 line further east than originally planned, avoiding both Sheffield and Meadowhall stations. The city would be served by up to two trains per hour running on existing lines connected to the main HS2 route, in what is described as a 'classic compatible service'.
There would be an additional option of a station stop at Chesterfield.
The report describes the new proposal as an 'imaginative' solution, that tries to balance criticism of the original plans and concerns about the cost of the project.
Why has HS2 Ltd rejected plans for a station at Meadowhall?
The report argues that aspirations to reduce journey time between Sheffield and Leeds city centres would not be achieved by a station at Meadowhall.
It adds that 'the presence of the shopping centre and associated businesses means that there is also a substantial price to pay in terms of demolition of properties and the subsequent compensation.
What are the main factors behind the decision-making process?
As well as cost, HS2 Ltd says there are four key factors to be considered in the decision-making process:
- The benefit of HS2 for Sheffield and the wider South Yorkshire region has to be measured against and judged in the light of the impact on therest of the route. Whilst there is clearly a need for a station stop in South Yorkshire, it also has to be seen in the context of the rest of HS2. Four times more passengerswill travel on to Leeds, York and Newcastle than stop in SouthYorkshire
- The particular needs of Sheffield and the wider region - which location achieves the best balance of the varying demands of the Sheffield city centre area and those of the rest of the region including Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster, without adversely impacting the service to other areas.
- Connectivity with the existing rail and wider transport network.
- 'Northern Powerhouse' aspirations to Sheffield to Leeds
- Topography, urban and industrial density, as well as environmental impacts.
HS2 Ltd argues that this would be 'a more cost effective approach', promising an additional saving of between one and five minutes for Leeds, and the cities further North.
The move has been welcomed by business leaders in Sheffield, who had feared that a station at Meadowhall would have a negative impact on the city.
But the proposals have been met with 'shock' from those affected by the new easterly route.
Authorities in Doncaster fear the new proposal would come at the expense of people in the town.
The National Trust has also raised 'serious concerns' for Nostell, near Wakefield, and its surrounding communities.