UP TO £1.573 million is to be invested in the development of a strategy to shape long-term plans for Sheffield City Region’s Supertram system, following a successful bid to Government for support funding.
The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement confirmed that Sheffield City Region is one of only six English authorities to receive ‘Large Local Major’ scheme funding from the Department for Transport, which will enable network owners, South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE), to progress a business case for up to £230 million future investment in Supertram.
The announcement follows a consultation held by SYPTE (19 September – 30 October) to seek public and stakeholder opinion on the Future of Supertram. It asked how the network could be developed or improved and how services could fit with other transport options over the next 30 years, to support regional economic growth, improve connectivity to employment, leisure and education, and reduce traffic congestion.
Over 2,000 consultation responses were received, with significant feedback supporting investment in Supertram and suggestions for development including network extensions to new locations, new tram vehicles, technology upgrades, and integrated ticketing schemes. 94.8% of respondents viewed the tram as an important mode of transport, and 91.2% see it bringing future benefits to the region.
SYPTE Executive Director, Stephen Edwards, said: “Supertram supports Sheffield City Region’s modern identity and has connected people to the city centre and beyond for over 21 years. Whilst we continue to make significant local investment in the network, parts of the system are coming to the end of their working life.
"SYPTE’s current concession agreement for tram services is ready for renewal in March 2024, so it is time for us to start putting plans in place to make sure Supertram is fit for the future. We are delighted to receive development funding from the Department for Transport, which will allow us to complete the transport modelling and analysis needed to make recommendations for investment options and, together with the important views of residents and businesses, help us to prepare the network for its next chapter.”
£1.573 million will be invested to build an Outline Business Case for Supertram in 2017/18 that presents cost and programme options as part of a Sheffield City Region Mass Transit Network. Public consultation will be held on proposals in 2018/19, before a bid is submitted to Government for a multi-million pound scheme of re-investment in the system.
It is one of a series of investments in Sheffield City Region infrastructure set out by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling this week. A £1.4 million project will also progress further Business Case work on Sheffield Innovation Corridor, to maximise potential for growth of the region’s Advanced Manufacturing District and reduce congestion around M1 junctions 33 and 34.
Chair of Sheffield City Region LEP, Sir Nigel Knowles, said: “This investment by the Government for two important transport studies in Sheffield City Region is excellent news. Connectivity is key to developing a strong business culture and this funding will enable us to continue building a better connected economy which works for businesses and residents.”