I’ve been watching the recent debates on whether HS2 should have a City Centre or Meadowhall location. As an independent town planner based in Sheffield I feel a city centre location makes absolute common sense jobs wise. If you pull the gravity out of Sheffield as Meadowhall did, the effects will last decades as they have in Rotherham and Sheffield city centre!
Like Doncaster is the right place for the airport and Rotherham for the AMRC, a major core city centre location is logical for clustering economic development at the heart of a city region. It would also give balance to the redevelopment of the city centre.
It’s much more sustainable too. A Meadowhall location will increase pressure on the M1, lead to a deterioration in air quality due to the increase in car based traffic and we would need a new Tinsley viaduct eventually. I have worked with other cities like Brum who are well ahead on their city centre plans for HS2 and using it as a catalyst for their learning quarter and the redevelopment of Curzon Street, Digbeth and Aston Triangle.
We could perhaps use the opportunity to bid for more funds to transform internal rail connections within South Yorkshire – they could do with better infrastructure. Then why not think about the jobs we might create in the rail supply industry amongst SMEs right across the city region? We have many of the right firms – they just need some sensible support to see how they might benefit from some of the opportunities.