Supporting our cities to get the best from HS2
Post by Minister of State for Transport Baroness Kramer
We’ve laid down the challenge to local areas and pledged to give strong support to help them reap as much as they can from the project.
We’ve taken on with enthusiasm the recommendation about a central regeneration company which will work with local authorities. We have asked HS2 Ltd and London Continental Railways to develop a full business case ready for consideration by government in the autumn.
The regeneration company will be a well of expertise that local areas can tap into on issues like commercial and investment opportunities. HS2 is a project on a scale unlike any other – it will be Europe’s largest infrastructure project – so it’s absolutely vital that we make sure local authorities have the support and guidance they need to make it a success.
We will also provide financial support for cities and towns to develop growth strategies. We will work with local areas to help them realise their visions for how HS2 will kick-start wider economic growth across their regions, creating more jobs and attracting inward investment.
Birmingham announced its regeneration plans for the HS2 Curzon Street site earlier this week, demonstrating how the city’s strong local vision will drive development. Solihull, the East Midlands, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield and London are all working closely with the government in response to the Growth Taskforce recommendations. And we are also working with places like Liverpool that will be served by HS2 services - travelling on both the dedicated HS2 line and on the existing railway – as we fully acknowledge the considerable scope that exists for HS2 to also help them deliver their regeneration and development ambitions.
And there’s plenty of examples of communities pushing forwards already – Sheffield Local Enterprise Partnership has already held a seminar for local people to come and meet with HS2 and find out more about the opportunities available.
The HS2 Growth Taskforce also recommended making railway engineering skills a national priority. A new High Speed Rail college with a national remit will play a key role in meeting this challenge, partnering with other institutions around the country through a ‘hub and spoke’ operating model, offering opportunities for communities around the country to bring the benefits of HS2 to their area. HS2 Ltd will also create bespoke rail engineering careers resources for use in schools engagement from later this year.
The time has come for local areas to seize all these opportunities. The Midlands and the North have been such powerhouses for the UK, it’s time to return to that again.
We have passed the point of any doubt now – HS2 is going to happen. The commitment we’ve made today means communities can start planning with confidence.
Local authorities need to get involved sooner rather than later. Together we will ensure Britain has what it takes to get the best out of this project.