- Strategic Director of Environment and Development Services to report.
The Leader introduced a report by the Strategic Director of Environment and Development Services which outlined the current Government consultation on the proposed High Speed Two (HS2) Phase 2 consultation and presented Rotherham’s response to the consultation which was submitted on the 16th January, 2014.
The consultation document explained the Government’s case for Phase 2 and set out the proposed route from the West Midlands to Manchester and Leeds. A technical report was also published and this included detailed information including route maps and station location plans. It also provided details of those station locations and route alignments that have been discounted by Government in reaching their preferred scheme. Alongside the consultation the Government published a sustainability statement.
The Government consultation on HS2 Phase 2 posed questions on the proposed line of route and station locations for the eastern and western arms of the route, and the appraisal of sustainability.
South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) had prepared a response to the consultation on behalf of the South Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority (SYITA). This response supported high speed rail and a well-served station stop at Meadowhall and had been endorsed by SYITA on the 9th January 2014. To support the response a study highlighting the connectivity improvements that would be required to make the proposed HS2 station fully accessible by classic rail, tram, tram-train, private vehicles, taxis and bus. In addition, a study on how the released capacity on the current classic rail network could be used post-HS2 had been completed and used to inform the response. In addition to the strategic South Yorkshire response to the consultation it had been agreed that South Yorkshire Local Authorities would also submit their own responses to the consultation.
The response submitted on behalf of Rotherham, which for consistency, aligned to the strategic response submitted by the SYITA whilst also highlighting Rotherham’s specific issues i.e. that it was considered essential for Government to consider when progressing to the further more detailed development stages of the scheme, particularly around the eastern leg of HS2, the need for a station in the Sheffield City Region (the location of this should be Meadowhall) and the need to mitigate the impact which may occur in Rotherham.
Following the consultation deadline, a report on the response was likely to be published in October 2014 and a final decision on Phase 2 expected to be made by Government before the end of 2014. The Hybrid Bill for Phase 2 would not be introduced in Parliament before the next election.
HS2 Ltd. currently anticipated that Phase 1 would begin operation in 2026 with the complete HS2 network fully operational in 2032.
As the decision was significant in terms of its effects on communities living or working in an area comprising two or more Wards or electoral divisions in the area of the relevant local authority it was a key decision.
Cabinet Members valued the importance of a response being submitted and stressed how crucial it was that Rotherham was involved and suggested that the Government be lobbied to request that Phase 2 (Leeds to Birmingham) commence before Phase 1 (London to Birmingham).
Resolved:- (1) That response to the HS2 Phase 2 consultation submitted to Government be noted.
(2) That the consultation response be referred for information to a future meeting of the Improving Places Select Commission.