A cross-regional discussion on the development opportunities the proposed HS2 high speed rail network might bring to areas heard from the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership’s Chief Executive.
Senior business and council representatives at the ‘HS2 Northern Powerhouse Workshop’, held at Birmingham’s International Convention Centre – both from areas along the proposed HS2 route and not – discussed potential development benefits the network might bring to their areas and swapped valuable information on progressing their plans.
Around 30 delegates at yesterday afternoon’s (April 27) event heard from HS2 and other transport officials, and those in areas set to have an HS2 ‘hub’; including David Ralph, the D2N2 LEP’s Chief Executive, who took part in a panel discussion on ‘Connecting economic opportunities to HS2 hubs’.
Phase Two of HS2 would create a track running up from the West Midlands, before splitting into western (towards the North-West) and eastern lines. A proposal for the eastern line to pass through the D2N2 area – with a proposed East Midlands hub at Toton and main maintenance depot at Staveley, near Chesterfield – is strongly favoured by HS2 but Government confirmation of the route is not due until later this year (2016).
Trains would not operate on the Phase Two route until 2033 at the earliest, on the current project timetable.
In November 2015 the Government awarded D2N2 £1.25million to develop a growth strategy for the proposed Toton HS2 hub. The LEP this year awarded £300,000 to feasibility studies looking at developing potential HS2 sites in its catchment of Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, to benefit the wider economy.
Commenting after the event, Mr Ralph said: “HS2 is a major national rail project but improved public transport is just one of the benefits the network will bring. It will also be a catalyst for creating jobs, developing supply chain businesses, and opening up areas to new commercial and housing property development.
“With two main HS2 sites set to be located in the D2N2 LEP area, it was good to talk to people from other parts of the country, who are also grappling with how to get the greatest economic benefit from this opportunity.”
HS2 will also be holding a free regional Supply Chain Roadshow at Leicester’s King Power Stadium, from 8.30am to 1.30pm on Wednesday May 11, where businesses can learn how to bid for future supply contracts associated with HS2. To register to attend the free event go to website www.hs2roadshow2016.co.uk/East-Midlands.aspx
For more information about the HS2 project see its website at www.gov.uk/government/organisations/high-speed-two-limited
More on how the D2N2 LEP is working to grow its area’s economy can be found at its website at www.d2n2lep.org
Media wanting more information on the D2N2 LEP can contact D2N2 Communications Manager Sean Kirby on 0115 9578749 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org