HS2 to proceed and bring economic benefits to Chesterfield
The Government announced today (11th February) it will proceed with HS2 following recommendations from the independent Oakervee Review.
Councillor Tricia Gilby, leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, said: “This is great news for Chesterfield. HS2 is a once in a generation opportunity for the town and borough. The new high-speed train line will have a transformative effect on our economy, with the prospect of 10,200 new jobs, 4,700 new homes and an annual uplift of £270 million in expenditure on local goods and services.
“HS2 will afford the one million people that currently live within 30 minutes’ drive of Chesterfield railway station improved rail connectivity to the north and south and establish Chesterfield as the international gateway to the world-famous Peak District national park.
“Chesterfield is ready for HS2. We are currently finalising the HS2 Chesterfield Station Masterplan ahead of a public consultation exercise this summer and have been making the case for the new HS2 line maintenance depot, which will bring hundreds of new high-quality engineering jobs to Staveley, to also be used as a base for construction of the new line.
“I am also delighted that over 800 primary and secondary school children in Chesterfield and north Derbyshire have already had the opportunity to engage in our “HS2 and You” programme. With the billions of pounds of investment now planned for the rail industry there will be plenty of great job opportunities for future generations”.
“There is no limit to the council’s ambition to make Chesterfield a thriving borough and to improve the quality of life for local people. The arrival of HS2 is critical to our future.”
Find out more: HS2 Chesterfield
Today’s announcement comes on the back of Talgo’s recent decision to establish its UK Headquarters at Barrow Hill Roundhouse. The Spanish train manufacturer has also confirmed its commitment to develop a Rail Innovation and Training Centre in Chesterfield.
The Innovation Centre, which is expected to open in 2022, will include a suite of specialist research and development laboratories, commercial office and workshop space, and training facilities that will provide a complete education pathway from school through to university level study. The Innovation Centre will also act as a hub for Talgo to engage with local companies that supply parts to the rail industry.
Related story: Very high-speed rail comes to Chesterfield
Whilst the Government has given the go ahead to the construction of the whole line, the announcement also references an intention to carry out a further review of the second phase of HS2, which includes the eastern leg from Birmingham to Leeds.
Cllr Tricia Gilby, continued: “It is critical that the delivery schedule for HS2 Phase 2b is not delayed further and there must be no downgrading of the line through the East Midlands to reduce costs.
“I will therefore be working closely with East Midlands’ Leaders from both the public and private sectors to ensure that this doesn’t happen. We must provide certainty to investors, businesses and local communities.
Scott Knowles, Chief Executive at East Midlands Chamber*, said: “
The vast potential of HS2 will only be realised if implemented in its entirety. While it is of course essential to keep an eye on costs, failure to deliver the Eastern Leg would undermine the whole project and greatly limit its return on investment; putting businesses here in the region at a distinct disadvantage in the process.”
Responding to news Midlands Connect Chairman Sir John Peace said:
“A further review of HS2 Phase 2b is an opportunity to make sure that HS2 is properly integrated with Midlands Engine Rail, and that other rail improvements are brought forward before the HS2 East Midlands Hub station at Toton is operational.
“It is important, however, that the Phase 2b hybrid Bill receives Royal Assent in this Parliament to provide certainty to investors, businesses and local communities. A review must also commit to constructing Phase 2b from the West Midlands to the East Midlands first, and must not consider downgrading lines north of Birmingham to cut costs. The Midlands must not be short changed with a two-tier HS2 network.
“Midlands Connect will continue to work closely with HS2 Ltd, the Department for Transport, Network Rail and local authorities to develop a plan that maximises the benefits of HS2, including improved HS2 connectivity for Chesterfield and the early delivery of the planned HS2 Infrastructure Maintenance Depot at Staveley.
“The Midlands has a golden opportunity to make the most of the huge benefits HS2 will bring to our communities. It is time to come together to deliver the infrastructure revolution the region desperately needs.”