A CAMPAIGNER battling against the HS2 high-speed rail line coming through her village voiced her concerns to the chief of Sheffield City Council face-to-face.
Sandra Haith of the Stop HS2 Bramley campaign met council leader Julie Dore at a cabinet meeting and said she handed over new information, which she hoped would force a re-think.
Councillors in Sheffield controversially opposed the original proposed rail route through Meadowhall which led to the switch to the so-called M18 route from Aston and Bramley up through Mexborough and the Dearne Valley.
Rotherham and Doncaster Borough Councils also opposed the M18 route, which has caused friction between the three local authorities.
Mrs Haith said: “We had a really good debate and she was quite surprised when I presented her with the map showing a comparison of the impacted properties, M18 route versus Meadowhall route. This map proves that there are almost double the amount of properties impacted on the M18 route.
“Both Julie Dore and Jack Scott (Sheffield’s Cabinet member for transport) were not aware of these figures, and they took a copy of the map away with them to investigate. I am awaiting their comments.”
Under the current HS2 proposals, there will be a station on a slower spur line from the high-speed route linking it to Midland station in Sheffield, but Mrs Haith said the council leader did not seem keen on that plan.
She said: “The leader of the council actually admitted that she still doesn’t want the Midland station option for HS2. She said she’d always wanted Victoria station.
“I pointed out that Victoria station never was a viable option and I asked her why she would now allow Sheffield City Region to be taken off the main HS2 line and come to the Midland station when she is well aware that this significantly reduces the benefits of HS2 in respect of accessibility, speed, capacity, impact.
“She confirmed that her main driving force was that a city centre station would create jobs in the city centre. She also said she was worried that businesses would relocate if HS2 didn’t come into the city centre.”
Mrs Haith said she still hoped that Sheffield City Council would come out against the M18 route.
Mrs Haith said: “Although I respect Julie Dore’s passion for looking after Sheffield city centre, I think she needs to realise that HS2 is supposed to benefit Sheffield region as a whole.
“The fact that Julie is not truly happy with what Sheffield is being offered should tell us that it is not the right decision.
“I left her with the request that she please give this matter more thought, before it’s too late, and join the other councils in their fight for a Meadowhall station.”
A Sheffield City Council spokeswoman said: “Mrs Haith has shared the figures she highlighted (at the meeting) and we will be looking at this information.
“The figures published by HS2 Ltd have consistently concluded that the M18 route would result in significantly fewer properties needing to be demolished compared to the Meadowhall route.
“In our consultation response we supported a Victoria station location as the best solution for our region but we believe that a spur into Sheffield Midland is a much improved option compared to the previous Meadowhall proposal.
“The council has always focused on the economic case for a city centre station, particularly the extra jobs and economic growth it has the potential to create.”