Sheffield Chamber of Commerce has called on the Government to quickly resolve concerns raised by businesses affected by the high speed railway (HS2) development.
Current plans see the HS2 route pass through existing sites of key manufacturing companies in the Lower Don Valley area of Sheffield.
Consultation on the proposed route is underway, but the Chamber is keen for action to be taken as soon as possible to avoid an impact on the city region’s economy.
Richard Wright, executive director at Sheffield Chamber, said:
“It is clearly unacceptable to choose a route that cuts through major businesses. What we need is an early resolution to the consultation to remove the doubt and allow the businesses along the route to get on and operate and invest with confidence.
“Inevitably there will be a route chosen and anybody that is eventually affected by the development needs to receive clear indications around compensation. This needs to happen now.”
Tim Hale, chair of Sheffield Chamber’s Transport Forum and chairman of long established plant and tool hire business Champion Hire Ltd, said:
“HS2 has been supported by the majority of Sheffield businesses on the basis that if it happens we need a line and station to avoid being disadvantaged against other cities.
“Inevitably, the whole thing has to make economic sense, and unfortunately the debate around this is not yet conclusive.
“Several major Sheffield manufacturers are very concerned about the effect on their business premises, and this needs addressing urgently.
“It is pointless having such a grandiose project as HS2, if the immediate knock-on is to force major existing businesses to close or relocate with the resulting loss of jobs to the area.
“Additionally, the local transport infrastructure around the new stations, and the line, needs to be handled sensitively, and not left to the cash-strapped local councils to deal with. There are still lots of questions to be resolved.”
A meeting has been arranged to consider the arguments for and against the HS2 extensions from Birmingham to Sheffield and Leeds, and to Manchester.
It has been organised by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and the Landscape Institute (LI).
The debate will take place on 27 June at The Rose Bowl, Leeds, starting at 6:30pm. Tickets cost £10.00 (inc. VAT) and include a drinks reception after the debate. These may be obtained via http://HS2debate.eventbrite.co.uk. Tickets will not be on sale on the door.