COUNCIL leader Chris Read has called on the transport secretary to rethink HS2’s “ill considered” plans in South Yorkshire.
His letter to Chris Grayling said the economic and travel benefits from the high-speed rail link would be “slight to non-existent”.
Cllr Read added: “Without serious reconsideration, the current proposal is unacceptable to Rotherham residents.”
HS2 Ltd’s revised proposals ditched the idea of a station at Meadowhall for building on Sheffield’s existing Midland station.
Cllr read said: “Either the Meadowhall or Sheffield Victoria station options would potentially have seen six trains an hour in each direction, directly onto the new HS2 line. Journey times to London would be reduced to slightly more than an hour.
“HS2’s new proposal would mean just two trains an hour to and from London and Birmingham into the existing Sheffield Midland station in the city centre.
“I understand that these ‘classic convertible’ services will be only half the length of the main HS2 line services.
“Two trains of this size, rather than six 400m trains, are in effect just 15 per cent of the extra capacity than had previously been proposed.”
The new Sheffield spur will not be served by the fast HS2 trains. Journey times to London are expected to be one hour 23 minutes — not much less than current travel times to the capital from Sheffield or Doncaster.
Cllr Read said: “For Rotherham residents who may now potentially be facing the inconvenience of HS2 being built through the borough, some of who are now facing the prospect of losing their homes, both the economic and travel benefits of the latest proposals are slight to non-existent.
“Worryingly, HS2 have not even been able to give us their prediction for how many properties may be affected.
“While early engagement with the public by HS2 staff is genuinely appreciated, these proposals seem hastily constructed and ill considered.”