The top transport authority for south Yorkshire has earmarked £235,000 for a detailed study of new station options for HS2, and the best part of a further £50,000 on a PR campaign around the project despite facing major cuts next year.
Around 50 jobs are thought to be on the line at the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) as a result of a planned 10% or £7.6m cut to its budget in 2015/16.
Local council leaders will make a decision on behalf of the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority this afternoon, with reductions to frontline services said to be ‘inevitable’ by SYPTE officials.
Savings are likely to be made from stopping printing paper timetables and relying on at-stop and Internet options instead, cutting back on cleaning staff and also replacing information centres with kiosks and Internet options.
HS2 cash will be spent examining options for a proposed new HS2 station in Sheffield. The report will be carried out by consulting engineers Pell Frischmann and is due to be completed by March.
SYPTE also confirmed that a further £47,000 is being spent on ‘media and engagement work’ for HS2.
SYPTE interim director of strategy, Julie Hurley, said: ‘Technical studies undertaken for the Sheffield City Region (SCR) are currently being carried out to explore options for transport connections to and from HS2 within the City Region. It is crucial that the SCR looks to, and prepares for, future transport needs, to support growing the region’s economy and therefore providing opportunities for those who live and work here.
'HS2 is an important part of that future regeneration and these studies therefore provide information to determine how HS2 can best serve the SCR and what projects could be brought forward, to benefit our area ahead of HS2.
'Studies for both a Sheffield Meadowhall and Sheffield Victoria station location will help inform local decision making so that the SCR leaders are in better position to ask government for what SCR wants and needs for HS2.’
Critics of HS2 told local papers the spending plan was ‘absolutely preposterous’.