Revised plans for the HS2 rail link which could mean two high speed trains an hour stopping in Chesterfield have been welcomed by town leaders.
Chesterfield Borough Council leader Councillor John Burrows says the recommendation by HS2 chairman Sir David Higgins to change the original route to include a link via the Midland Mainline that could stop in Chesterfield is great news for the town’s economic future.
Peter Swallow, chair of Destination Chesterfield, the town’s marketing campaign, has also welcomed the news as it would deliver 79-minute train journeys to London and shorter journey times to Leeds and other towns and cities in the north and Midlands.
Chesterfield Borough Council will now be seeking further detail on the proposals and, in particular, looking for reassurance the route will not impact on the restoration of Chesterfield Canal, as well as finding out more about what it means to the planned maintenance depot at Staveley, which would create jobs for the borough.
Councillor John Burrows, leader of Chesterfield Borough Council and cabinet member for regeneration, said: “This will further strengthen Chesterfield’s position as a place to do business. We now need the Government to make a quick decision that there will definitely be a stop in Chesterfield as is being recommended to them and then get on with building the HS2 route.
“The report recognises the importance of the Chesterfield economy to the wider Sheffield City Region and its potential for growth as part of the devolution deal agreed by the Government.
“To deliver this we will work with our partners in Sheffield City Region, and those across Derbyshire and the East Midlands, to get the maximum benefit for Chesterfield from these proposals.
“Using the Midland Mainline and diverting the main HS2 line to the east should reduce the impact of the route construction on the area but we still need to see the detailed plans for the maintenance depot at Staveley to assess what impact that could have on local communities and the plans for the Chesterfield Canal restoration.”
The announcement by HS2 has also been welcomed by Peter Swallow, chair of Destination Chesterfield.
He said: "HS2 represents a fantastic opportunity for Chesterfield in terms of both the option of a stop on the route and the previously announced maintenance depot.
“The journey time to London by rail is already good but having an HS2 stop would increase this, further benefitting the local economy and attractiveness of the town and new developments like Chesterfield Waterside and Peak Resort, to investors.
“While we do not yet have the detail, Staveley is perfectly positioned for the depot and it could contribute significantly to regeneration of the area in terms of employment during construction and beyond."
The new HS2 option proposes that services could take a spur off the new north-south high speed line, using the Midland Mainline from Clay Cross. If this happened trains would go to Sheffield Midland station, with two trains an hour stopping at Chesterfield on the way. There is also the possibility of these trains continuing past Sheffield to the existing Meadowhall station, Barnsley and Rotherham.
The proposed route changes are intended to take the rail line through less populated areas and to make £1 billion of savings compared to the original plans. The main HS2 line would instead follow a route further east than originally planned, largely going alongside the M18.
HS2 will hold a public consultation event in the Speedwell Rooms, Inkersall Road, Staveley from 12.30pm to 8pm on Wednesday 20 July so residents can find out more about the proposals for the Staveley maintenance depot.
Copies of the report can be seen at www.gov.uk/government/publications/hs2-sheffield-and-south-yorkshire-report-2016