‘People, place and connectivity’ are the focus of a new East Midlands HS2 Growth Strategy , revealing how the planned high speed rail network could add thousands of jobs and billions of pounds to the region’s economy.
In July (2017) Government confirmed its preferred route for HS2’s ‘Phase 2b’ line, or ‘eastern leg’; proposed to run from the West Midlands, through Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire – between the large urban conurbations of Nottingham and Derby – through to Leeds. The line includes plans for an East Midlands ‘hub’ station at Toton, Nottinghamshire – set to be the network’s best connected point outside London – an HS2 maintenance depot at Staveley, north Derbyshire, and provision for HS2 classic compatible trains serving the current Chesterfield train station. It’s estimated this eastern leg would open fully in 2033, but local partners believe there’s potential to partially open the hub station at Toton by 2030.
Now the East Midlands HS2 Strategic Board – a partnership of the region’s local authorities, businesses and Local Enterprise Partnerships – has submitted its East Midlands HS2 Growth Strategy: World Class-Locally Driven to Government.
The new in-depth study – building on an initial proposal published September 2016 – details the opportunities HS2 presents to drive long term growth for the regional economy, equivalent to an additional 74,000 jobs and almost £4billion of GVA (Gross Value Added) by 2043, and how this could be achieved.
These opportunities include:
- An East Midlands Hub Growth Zone featuring a new Innovation Campus at the Toton ‘hub’ station to accommodate high growth businesses and universities’ research, and with the capacity to create up to 10,000 high skilled jobs and improved community facilities; which will be at the heart of a network of ‘garden village’ developments, including the nearby Stanton and Chetwynd Barracks sites. A North Derbyshire Growth Zone around Chesterfield and Staveley would put the planned HS2 Staveley depot at the heart of a series of mixed use regeneration opportunities, improve links between Chesterfield station and the town, and create an attractive gateway to the Peak District National Park and to other visitor attractions.
- Greater connectivity – In addition to the greater rail connectivity HS2 would bring, the Strategy proposes improvements to local connectivity – using various modes of transport including road, bus, rail, tram, cycling, pedestrian – between East Midlands economic centres such as Derby, Leicester and Nottingham city centres, and East Midlands Airport; and between the towns and villages surrounding Toton and Chesterfield. The East Midlands HS2 Growth Strategy also sets out comprehensive proposals for addressing congestion and improving connectivity on the A52.
- Delivering jobs and training opportunities – Research undertaken for the East Midlands HS2 Growth Strategy indicates HS2’s presence in the region – creating better links within the region and between it and the wider world, and by providing commercial opportunities for local supply chains – could boost jobs growth above projected UK trends; equivalent to an extra 74,000 jobs and almost £4billion of GVA by 2043. Manufacturing and technology sectors would particularly benefit, says the Strategy. It proposes jobs and skills promotion be based around the themes of inspiring young people, building further education capacity, harnessing the power of universities and supporting individuals.
- Providing opportunities for business – Construction of the HS2 network, and providing services and maintenance once it is operating, represent major commercial opportunities for a wide range of sectors; including for construction and transport equipment manufacturing supply chain firms. To take best economic advantage of this the East Midlands HS2 Growth Strategy proposes establishing a rail industry ‘innovation group’ through the existing Rail Forum East Midlands, and bidding for Staveley to become a construction and maintenance depot. There should also be a comprehensive HS2 awareness campaign to alert businesses and individuals to these opportunities, to ensure they are ‘HS2 ready’.
Councillor Jon Collins, HS2 Strategic Board Chair and Leader of Nottingham City Council, said: “This Strategy makes it clear that HS2 is not just about better transport, we intend to use it as a catalyst to create new business opportunities which will bring thousands of extra jobs to the region.
“It’s really important that we put the site around the new HS2 hub to good use and so it makes sense to develop an Innovation Campus, which plays to the strengths of emerging regional business sectors and local university research. It will benefit from all the enhanced transport links that we see as vital to making the most of the HS2 hub in the East Midlands.”
Jake Berry MP – Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth) at the Department for Communities and Local Government – added: “The investment this Government is making in HS2 represents an opportunity for economic growth, not just in the towns and cities along the route but across whole regions. I am delighted that East Midlands leaders have come together to develop an ambitious strategy which capitalises on this opportunity, and I look forward to discussing the proposals in more detail.”
Paul Maynard MP – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rail, Accessibility and HS2 – said: “HS2 will become the backbone of our national rail network – supporting growth and regeneration and helping us build an economy that works for all.
“I welcome the initiative that the East Midlands local enterprise partnerships and local authorities have taken in working together to develop plans to maximise the economic benefits that HS2 will bring to Nottingham, Derby, Leicester and other parts of the region.”
Peter Richardson OBE, Chair of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, commented: “We have an exciting vision for the future, which sees HS2 as a catalyst to boost the region’s economy.
“For local people and businesses across the East Midlands, HS2 will mean more jobs and training opportunities, trade and investment, housing opportunities at a range of different sites, train services with quicker journey times, and better local transport connections. To make all this happen we need to plan early and engage support from all sectors of our community. This East Midlands HS2 Growth Strategy provides an excellent and practical vision of how we wish to achieve that.”
Sir John Peace, Chair of the Midlands Engine and Midlands Connect, said: “Midlands Connect and Midlands Engine are seizing the once in a lifetime opportunity HS2 brings to drive growth for the region. We are fully supportive of accelerating completion of the East Midlands HS2 Hub and are urging Government to bring this forward.
“Midlands Connect is already defining and developing the local strategic connections that will maximise the economic benefits of HS2 connectivity and, through Midlands Engine, we will work with partners to turn this ambitious growth strategy into action.”
Councillor Kay Cutts MBE, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, added: “This latest report is vital, as it sets out in detail the huge economic benefits and opportunities this will bring to Nottinghamshire.
“The new East Midlands station at Toton is due to become the best connected place outside of London, and will help to make Nottinghamshire an even more attractive place to live and work. This radical improvement to connectivity and capacity will unlock massive economic growth for our county. The opportunities for new jobs and skills is unparalleled, particularly for our younger generation. There will be lucrative supply chain opportunities for local businesses, particularly during the construction phase, which we as a County Council will be supporting.”
Councillor Simon Spencer – Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Infrastructure; and Vice-Chair of the East Midlands HS2 Strategic Board –said: “HS2 will bring more jobs and business opportunities to Derbyshire, as well as massive potential for the county’s tourism industry.
“We believe the best deal for Derbyshire residents will be achieved by working with the Government, to maximise the economic benefits and minimise the adverse impacts of the scheme.”
Scott Knowles, Chief Executive at East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire), added: “HS2 is the single biggest transport infrastructure project in a generation, and represents a huge opportunity for businesses across the East Midlands and beyond. It has the potential to be truly transformational, much more than just a new railway.
“It will be a catalyst that drives regeneration along its entire route and leads to wider infrastructure investment, it will utilise the skills available in the world’s greatest cluster of rail-related businesses in Derby, and create opportunities to make sure those skills and new ones will pass to the next generation. It will bring together a raft of different partners as they work together to maximise the opportunities of HS2, both during construction and for decades afterwards.”
To read a copy of the East Midlands HS2 Growth Strategy: World Class-Locally Driven publication online click HERE .
For more information about the East Midlands HS2 Strategic Board and its work see the website link at www.emcouncils.gov.uk/HS2-Strategic-Board
For further information about the work of the East Midlands HS2 Strategic Board contact Andrew Pritchard, Director of Policy & Infrastructure at East Midlands Councils, on 01664 502620 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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