Business leaders across South Yorkshire are uniting with the Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, by calling on the Government to invest £220million in rail, public transport and active travel schemes across South Yorkshire.
The call from councils, walking and cycling charities, and business leaders comes ahead of the Budget on March 11. It is expected that the Government will announce which areas have been awarded money through the Transforming Cities Funding scheme.
The three areas the Mayor’s bid focuses on are:
- The River Don “corridor” between Sheffield city centre and the Unity site north of Doncaster;
- The Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District (AMID) on the border of Sheffield and Rotherham;
- The Dearne Valley Corridor, spanning Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster and including key employment sites such as the Barnsley Digital Campus and M1 Junction 36.
The investment will be used to help make Mayor Jarvis’ transport vision for South Yorkshire a reality. The vision aims to reduce journey times, cut congestion, improve punctuality and reliability, and bring about a wide range of benefits associated with active travel, such as improved health and wellbeing.
The bid will support 24km of improved walking and cycling infrastructure, 12km of new bus lanes, two new tram-train park and ride sites and better facilities at 13 local rail stations.
Dan Jarvis, Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, said: “I’m calling on the Government to back our Transforming Cities bid in full, which will be a game-changer for passengers and businesses in South Yorkshire. Business and civic leaders are united behind our ambitions plan, which will help us build an affordable, integrated network. We need to transform South Yorkshire’s transport system – approving this bid is crucial and will cut journey times and create better services.
“If the Government is serious about levelling up the economy, then we have shovel-ready schemes in South Yorkshire that will help unlock prosperity across our region.”
Half of the money is also earmarked for walking and cycling schemes in the region. Improved active travel routes will enable more people to leave the car at home and travel to work on foot or by bike, reducing congestion at peak times.
Dame Sarah Storey, Sheffield City Region Active Travel Commissioner, said: “It is great to see that half of the Transforming Cities Funding bid will be focused on developing walking and cycling routes across South Yorkshire. I urge the Government to approve this funding in full.
“By enabling walking and cycling through the provision of safe and suitable routes, we can remove cars from the road for short, everyday journeys. Investment in active travel reduces congestion, air pollution, and helps people become healthier.
“When built, these schemes will form the first routes of mine and Mayor Jarvis’ vision for South Yorkshire’s Active Travel Network. Helping to make our vision for walking and cycling in South Yorkshire a reality.”
Barry White, Chief Executive for Transport for the North, said: “Transport for the North (TFN) wholeheartedly support the Sheffield City Region’s Transforming Cities Funding bid.
“TFN has a clear remit to identify and plan transport infrastructure required to support economic growth in the North. It also has a role to play in supporting local and national government, as well as the private sector and transport operators, to align local investment in public transport and active travel modes of travel with strategic, pan-Northern investment.”
Members of the business community and walking and cycling charities have also been putting their weight behind the bid.
Iain Thompson, Head of Communications and Investor Relations, for Harworth Group, said: “We strongly support Sheffield City Region’s Transforming Cities Funding bid. This bid commits to significantly improving low cost, carbon efficient access to some of the region’s key developments, including Verdion’s iPort scheme and our redevelopment of the former Rossington Colliery.
“If we are to reduce our reliance on the car, it is these sorts of bids that need to be given credence.”
Andrew Denniff, Chief Executive of Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce said: “Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce support the Sheffield City Region’s Transforming Cities Funding bid.
“The Chamber fully supports the Mayor’s transport vision which is foccused on delivering significant changes in the provision of active travel across the wider region, to develop a transport system that works for everyone.
“Barnsley and Rotherham have experienced good growth in employment in recent years and Barnsley is in the middle of a major project to transform its town centre. Access to that development is crucial and we strongly welcome the plans to better connect the rail station and improve walking routes in the town centre.”