The head of HS2 has given his backing to plans for a new South Yorkshire parkway station between Doncaster and Rotherham.
Sir David Higgins told MPs that idea of the station was ‘very attractive’ and would take pressure off the increasingly congested M1 and A1 roads.
Speaking to the Transport Committee, the chairman of HS2 also said the controversial new proposed route that will pass through areas including Mexborough, Bramley and Aston represents a ‘better deal for the taxpayer’ than the originally-proposed Meadowhall line which has now been scrapped.
Calls were made for HS2 to examine the case to build a South Yorkshire parkway station after the proposed new route was announced in summer and left the county with just a ‘spur’ into the existing Sheffield railway station rather than a dedicated HS2 stop.
The Government indicated in September the idea would be considered, with Sir David’s comments representing the clearest indication yet that the scheme will go ahead.
He told MPs: “We are looking at a parkway on this new line which should be between Wakefield, Doncaster and Rotherham.
“That will open up to a lot of people who have no services whatsoever at the moment.
“It is extremely close to the A1/M1, which as time goes on is becoming more and more of a critical corridor for access.
“Being able to have a parkway there that would be able to take traffic off that motorway I think in time will be seen as very attractive.”
A HS2 spokesperson said despite Sir David’s comments, no decisions have been made on where a potential parkway station would be located and no cost estimates for its building are available yet.
The spokesman added: “HS2 has been commissioned to undertake a study into options for a Parkway station to serve the wider South Yorkshire region.
“This will be shared with the Transport Minister and a decision is expected next year once the public consultation closes.”
Sir David also told MPs that the complexity of the Meadowhall station option means the alternative route that has been proposed could be almost £900m cheaper.
“There will be 66 per cent less properties demolished, 56 less residential properties, 86 less commercial properties demolished. The Meadowhall route was going was through a heavily-industrialised, difficult, congested valley and we were destroying a lot of employment.”
John Healey MP, who has helped push the case for a parkway station if the Meadowhall plans are scrapped, said: “At every stage of the planning process for HS2 I have fought for a station in South Yorkshire.
“And although I opposed the change of plan away from a Meadowhall station to a spur line into Sheffield, I welcome this sign from Sir David Higgins’ that a South Yorkshire stop on the HS2 route is being seriously considered.”