HS2 Chesterfield

Chesterfield leaders react to government HS2 announcement

Leaders in Chesterfield have reacted to the government’s announcement earlier today, around HS2 and the Integrated Rail Plan.

To find out full details around what was announced, go to:

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/integrated-rail-plan-for-the-north-and-the-midlands


Councillor Tricia Gilby, Leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, said “It is deeply disappointing that the government has failed to deliver on its promises to commit to the Eastern Leg of HS2 in full – Chesterfield borough presents a prime example of a place ripe for investment and development off the back of HS2. Instead, the ambitions of our children and young people are yet again set to be held back by the government’s under-investment in the infrastructure needed to enable them to build their careers and lives.

“We have long called on the government to keep their promises and deliver the Eastern leg in full, and without delay. Today’s announcement hits hard our plans for up to a billion pounds worth of investment in Staveley alone, including new skills and jobs for local people. By backtracking on their promises, the government has taken a once in a lifetime opportunity away from our communities and undermined the hard work and commitment that the council and its partners have put in over many years.

“Pushing it into the long grass creates prolonged uncertainty and destroys some of the hopes we had for a brighter future.

“Rather than look to Chesterfield and Staveley, we fear businesses will now prioritise their investment to areas where the government has committed to invest in HS2. With the HS2 maintenance depot in Staveley now in doubt, our well-developed plans to use this to re-ignite much needed growth and regeneration for Staveley will suffer. Whilst we will do all we can to ensure this continues, the same levels of investment and development will not be achieved by just connecting HS2 to the existing Midland Main Line.

“The announcement today claims to set up our rail network for success for the next hundred years, that is not the case in our part of the world as it will cram even more trains on to an already crowded Victorian network. HS2 promised 21st century connectivity and capacity, but the people of Chesterfield are not deemed important enough to experience those benefits.

“The gap in the new high speed network means funnelling even more trains along lines already very busy with freight and passenger services.

“The uncertainty and delays we have already experienced are also now set to continue, with land safeguarded for HS2 remaining unavailable for development until the government makes a firm decision. I therefore call on the government to conclude its deliberations as quickly as possible to minimise the blight for affected communities and take the brakes off our ambitious growth plans.

“We welcome the electrification of the Midland Main Line, but the government has already announced this project multiple times, failing each time to set a firm timetable for delivery in our area. If the government truly want to level up investment and improve connectivity here, they must firm up this commitment with funding and set deadlines to ensure the project will be delivered.

“We will continue to strongly make the case for “HS2 All the Way”. In only investing in “HS2 half the way”, it is my view that the government has missed out on a golden opportunity to level up the country through equity of investment in HS2 in the East Midlands and North”.

Cllr Tricia Gilby, leader of Chesterfield Borough Council


Commenting on the Government’s publication of the Integrated Rail Plan and its ramifications for the HS2 Eastern Leg, East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire) chief executive Scott Knowles said: “Today’s announcement comes as a bitter blow to communities in the East Midlands that have spent such a long time planning for the arrival of HS2, only to now be faced with a reneging on clear commitments repeatedly made by our country’s leaders.

“From a practical perspective, we miss out on the majority of the transformational economic benefits that underpinned the HS2 case for the region. This would have included significantly enhanced connectivity both locally and with other major cities, increased capacity to help us deliver more frequent and reliable local services, as well as the significant wider investment opportunities that come with businesses basing themselves at such a well-connected location.

“It was also about creating economic prosperity in places such as Chesterfield and Staveley, where economic regeneration planning has hinged around the delivery of HS2.

“But it’s not just a case of what we could have had. Investment begets investment and the fact that the Western Leg has been given the green light places the East Midlands at a massive disadvantage. It risks further widening the

“Of course, the proposed improvements within the Integrated Rail Plan, along with the long-needed electrification of the Midland Main Line, are positive developments. But these were always a part of our wider vision for HS2 in the East Midlands and electrification was promised many years ago – and has itself been the subject of multiple Government flip-flops over the past decade.

“As the Prime Minister himself has said, it should not be an either/or situation. We need these developments alongside HS2 to achieve the full benefits for the region.

“Because make no mistake, this is a job half done. This has always been so much more than just a transport investment for the communities of the East Midlands and no matter how this is now spun, our joint vision that encompassed economic, environmental and societal benefits has been massively descoped.

“At a time when the Prime Minister is shouting from the rooftops about levelling up and saying no place will be left behind, this is a slap in the face to a region that already receives the lowest level of public expenditure on transport and economic affairs in the UK.

“It also demonstrates massive disingenuity towards the climate change agenda despite the rhetoric surrounding COP26 earlier this month – our railways are at breaking point, and only through the additional capacity of HS2 would we be able to encourage people and freight off the roads in quantities meaningful enough to make a difference.

“The decision not to build the Eastern Leg as originally planned undermines not only the benefits of the entire project but also trust in Government.

“It now rests on Westminster to explain in proper, technical detail exactly what it plans to deliver, as well as how and when, in order to prevent the East Midlands from being structurally disadvantaged for generations to come.

“For our own region, it’s never been more crucial for our political and business leaders to come together and prepare a collective response for how we move forward.”

Scott Knowles, Chief Executive of East Midlands Chamber

 

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UK’s largest Chambers of Commerce urge Prime Minister to confirm full project delivery of HS2

HS2 is about “much more than a new railway” and should be viewed as a catalyst for levelling up, according to chief executives at the four largest Chambers of Commerce along the route – as they urged the Prime Minister to deliver the project in full.

Scott Knowles at East Midlands Chamber, Henrietta Brealey at Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, Clive Memmott OBE at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, and Sandy Needham DL at West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce – whose organisations represent more than 14,000 businesses combined – claimed the high-speed rail project “remains fundamentally misunderstood” as only a transport investment.

In a joint letter to Boris Johnson, they said HS2 would bring strong economic growth to each of their areas and called for the “speedy confirmation” of its delivery in full and as planned.

A final sign-off on how and when the project will be delivered has been delayed on several occasions and is now expected in the Autumn.

In the letter, the Chambers of Commerce leaders say: “We believe that HS2 remains fundamentally misunderstood.

“In many quarters, it is still viewed as being purely a rail investment project sitting within the Department for Transport.

“The various reviews done to date – and in which we have wholeheartedly participated – have approached it almost universally as being solely about transport investment, judging it through this singular lens with regards to cost/benefit analysis.

“Such an understanding of HS2 is hopelessly flawed. While even with this narrow focus the project still more than stands up to scrutiny given capacity constraints, connection shortfalls and the need to upgrade transport to green, clean alternatives, we cannot emphasise enough how HS2 is about much, much more than a new railway.”

The letter points out how each of the regions where HS2 will pass through have developed local plans for growth that have centred around the opportunities it will bring.

Not only do they consider the immediate vicinity of the stations, but also further afield through enhanced local connectivity, “often in areas that have faced chronic underinvestment over a number of years”.

“This growth is about new business investment, house building, place regeneration, high-skilled job creation, innovation, green technologies and more,” the leaders add.

“Indeed, we are already seeing these plans start to come to fruition across Birmingham, where the certainty of the first phase of HS2 has already spurred private sector investment and development.

“Without the development of HS2 as promised, these plans will be critically undermined, and any delivery that does happen will certainly not be of the magnitude aspired to.”

Rather than just being viewed as a transport project, the four chief executives believe it should be regarded as a “levelling up game changer” and an opportunity to rebalance the UK’s economy.

While much of the conversation around the project since its launch a decade ago has focused on cutting journey times to London, they argue it goes much further.

They add: “It is a comprehensive transformation programme that will change the way as a country we approach innovation, environmental commitments, skills development, modern methods of construction and more – not to mention our broader understanding of the ways in which we live, learn and work.

“Ultimately this is about the most ambitious investment made by this country in living memory and its returns will be realised across multiple facets of our economy for generations to come.”

Although the Prime Minister has previously provided assurances that HS2 would be delivered in full, other ministers and Government officials have more recently suggested this may not happen.

The Chambers of Commerce leaders round off the letter by reiterating their belief that “anything other than the full development of the new HS2 line on the scale and scope intended will fall short of what is needed”.

They add: “We believe that any such decision would, in time, come to be viewed as a significant missed opportunity for the UK to demonstrate itself as the ambitious, future-thinking, world-leading country we know ourselves to be.

“In the immediate term, it would send the wrong signal to investors at home and abroad as the economy recovers from the impact of the pandemic.

“Beyond this, it would stunt our possibilities for future development, hamstringing our longer-term growth ambitions.”

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Have your say on ambitious regeneration plans for Chesterfield

People are being encouraged to have their say on ambitious plans to transform the area between the town centre and Chesterfield Train Station – creating a vibrant gateway to North Derbyshire and setting out potential sites to create around 850 new jobs.

The HS2 Station Master Plan was approved by the council’s Cabinet on 2 February and will now be put out for public consultation. Residents, businesses, train passengers and visitors to the town can have their say between 8 February and 8 March.

The proposals – which can be viewed in an innovative virtual exhibition – set out a vision for the future development of the area and are also designed to make the most of the once-in-a-generation plans for a High Speed Rail (HS2) link at Chesterfield.

Councillor Tricia Gilby, Leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, said: “Despite the challenging economic times posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Chesterfield is not standing still and we’re pressing ahead with our £1 billion growth programme – carving out a prosperous future for our borough, while creating jobs and homes for local people.

“Our HS2 Station Master Plan is a key element of this work and we’re now asking for local people, businesses, train passengers and visitors to give us their views to help shape the future of our town.

“We want to create a vibrant gateway to North Derbyshire and the Peak District, to better connect this key site to our town centre, and to bring unused and underused land back to life for the benefit of local people. The proposals also have sustainability at their heart – setting out infrastructure improvements to support cycling, walking and better access for public transport.”

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions in place, people are being invited to take part in a virtual consultation, with an online exhibition setting out the key proposals. They include:

  • Establishing the principle of new development plots to accommodate a mix of uses with the potential to generate a minimum of approximately 850 jobs
  • A new station link road (a through route) between Brimington Road and Hollis Lane with improved public transport access
  • Closure of the A61 on-slip road
  • A new public ‘boulevard’ for pedestrians and cyclists (including segregated cycle lanes) leading from the station to Corporation Street
  • Replacement of the existing A61 footbridge between the station area and Corporation Street with a new wider bridge, including a segregated cycle route.
  • Suggested changes to Corporation Street to improve accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists whilst retaining vehicle access to businesses.
  • A ‘transport hub’ including a multi-storey car park (with around 550 bays) and charging points for electric vehicles
  • A cycle hub with e-bike hire and secure cycle parking
  • An overall layout that has the potential for a higher quality of natural habitats including more tree planting
  • A new station forecourt to better accommodate buses, coaches, taxis and a drop off/collection point.
  • A continuous cycle link from Hollis Lane area through to Crow Lane

Councillor Gilby added: “Our proposals also seek to harness the once-in-a-generation opportunity presented to our region by the HS2 project – a chance to cement Chesterfield’s position as a thriving place to invest and do business.

“But it’s important to note that this plan can be delivered ahead of – and independently to – the national project if needed.

“This is a flagship plan for our borough’s future, and we’re keen to hear the views of as many people as possible. Their input will help shape the final version of the Master Plan, which will be used to drive forward regeneration in the town centre.”

Funding for regeneration at and around the station and the preparation of a masterplan has been obtained by Chesterfield Borough Council and Derbyshire County Council through both the Sheffield City Region (SCR) and East Midlands (D2N2) Local Economic Partnerships.

Visit www.chesterfield.gov.uk/HS2-station-master-plan to find out more and access the consultation, which is being run by consultants AECOM. Online materials include a 3D ‘fly-through’ video of how the site could look. (Please note, the virtual exhibition cannot be accessed until the consultation opens on Monday 8 February).

Hard copies of the documents can also be requested and will be provided in a Covid-safe way – please call 01246 959707.

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Ambitious regeneration plans to be considered by Chesterfield Borough Council

Ambitious plans to transform the area between the town centre and Chesterfield Train Station – creating a vibrant gateway to North Derbyshire and setting out potential sites to create around 850 new jobs – are being considered by Chesterfield Borough Council.

The HS2 Station Master Plan is to go before the council’s Cabinet on 2 February and, if approved, will be subject to a four-week public consultation starting on 8 February.

The proposals set out a vision for the future development of the area and are also designed to make the most of the once-in-a-generation plans for a High Speed Rail (HS2) link at Chesterfield.

Councillor Tricia Gilby, Leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, said: “Despite the challenging economic times posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Chesterfield is not standing still and we’re pressing ahead with our £1 billion growth programme – carving out a prosperous future for our borough, while creating jobs and homes for local people.

“Our HS2 Station Master Plan is a key element of this work. We want to create a vibrant gateway to North Derbyshire and the Peak District, to better connect this key site to our town centre, and to bring unused and underused land back to life for the benefit of local people.

“The proposals also have sustainability at their heart – setting out infrastructure improvements to support cycling, walking and better access for public transport.

“Our proposals also seek to harness the once-in-a-generation opportunity presented to our region by the HS2 project – a chance to cement Chesterfield’s position as a thriving place to invest and do business.

“But it’s important to note that this plan can be delivered ahead of – and independently to – the national project if needed.”

Key proposals include:

  • Establishing the principle of new development plots to accommodate a mix of uses with the potential to generate a minimum of approximately 850 jobs
  • A new station link road (a through route) between Brimington Road and Hollis Lane with improved public transport access
  • Closure of the A61 on-slip road
  • A new public ‘boulevard’ for pedestrians and cyclists (including segregated cycle lanes) leading from the station to Corporation Street
  • Replacement of the existing A61 footbridge between the station area and Corporation Street with a new wider bridge, including a segregated cycle route.
  • Suggested changes to Corporation Street to improve accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists whilst retaining vehicle access to businesses.
  • A ‘transport hub’ including a multi-storey car park (with around 550 bays) and charging points for electric vehicles
  • A cycle hub with e-bike hire and secure cycle parking
  • An overall layout that has the potential for a higher quality of natural habitats including more tree planting
  • A new station forecourt to better accommodate buses, coaches, taxis and a drop off/collection point.
  • A continuous cycle link from Hollis Lane area through to Crow Lane

Funding for regeneration at and around the station and the preparation of a master plan has been obtained by Chesterfield Borough Council and Derbyshire County Council through both the Sheffield City Region (SCR) and East Midlands (D2N2) Local Enterprise Partnerships.

If approved, the proposals will be subject to a four-week consultation period running from 8 February to 8 March.

Due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, this will be via a virtual exhibition and more details will be available on the council’s website and social media channels.

 

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Chesterfield business leaders urge government to deliver HS2 Eastern Leg in full

The chief executive of East Midlands Chamber says there are “No excuses for the HS2 Eastern Leg not to be built in full,” after the National Infrastructure Commission published recommendations earlier this week.

Responding to the National Infrastructure Commission’s (NIC) Rail Needs Assessment Plan in which it outlines recommendations on the future of HS2, East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire) chief executive Scott Knowles said: “HS2 is the single-biggest transport infrastructure project in a generation and represents a huge opportunity for businesses, with the potential to unlock economic benefits of more than £4bn for the East Midlands and part of Yorkshire.

“By connecting the region with a first-class UK and Europe-wide rail network, it will bring enormous opportunities to local firms and make the East Midlands a much more attractive location for inward investment.

“However, these benefits for both the region and country will only be realised once it is delivered in full. That means the Eastern Leg being built exactly as the Government has promised all along, rather than a diluted version of this, and at pace.

“We will have major capacity issues on the Midland Main Line within the next two decades unless something is done to upgrade the rail network, so this needs to be addressed urgently. HS2 would achieve this, while also offering much-needed improvements in connectivity between the region’s towns and cities.

“However, this is so much more than just a railway line. It’s been great to see many parts of the East Midlands come together to commit to a blueprint for the future of the region that will bring economic growth and jobs. We have been very clear on our vision, which is built on the idea that the Toton hub station becomes a destination in its own right – a magnet for inward investment and an industrial hub that unlocks further development opportunities.

“The NIC’s report is therefore very concerning as it doesn’t take any of the regional growth plans into account and we absolutely do not accept its findings.

“Any suggestion that involves stopping HS2 at East Midlands Parkway would not work for the region, and has already been considered and dismissed from a feasibility perspective years ago.

“When the Government makes its decision about which option to include in its Integrated Rail Plan, it will have a clear choice between an exciting vision created by a region that’s focused on long-term growth and prosperity – one that will shape how we want our country to look as we leave the UK-EU transition period – and another that applies rough methodology, offers short-term logic and ultimately doesn’t deliver the same benefits.

“We have a plan that’s ready to go and it’s time the Government delivered on promises it has made so many times over the past 12 months since it firmly committed to the scheme – and in the years that preceded it.

“The East Midlands currently has the lowest transport spend per capita – £245 per head – of any region in the UK, receiving just 51% of the £483 UK average. The region is in desperate need of investment and finally putting any questions to bed on the HS2 Eastern Leg would go some way to proving the Government is serious about delivering on the ‘levelling-up’ agenda – a point on which it has repeatedly banged the drum without any serious proof of what this actually means.

“To do anything else would be a huge mistake, critically undermining the entire project and blowing a huge hole in Government rhetoric.”

Councillor Tricia Gilby, Leader of Chesterfield Borough Council has responded to the NIC publication. She said: “We are hugely disappointed that of the options presented the National Infrastructure Commission does not recommend delivery of the eastern leg of HS2 in full. This directly conflicts with the Government’s pledge to levelling up in areas like ours. It also seriously undermines local plans for growth in the north and the midlands.

“After decades of underinvestment in strategic rail infrastructure, delivering HS2 is a once in a generation chance to transform connectivity, attract investment, create new jobs, build new homes, boost skills and opportunity and level-up communities across the North, Midlands and beyond. This is even more crucial to our economic future in optimising recovery from the pandemic, which has hit the North and Midlands hard.

“We have been working with our partners across the north and midlands for a number of years, making it clear that the full eastern leg is a critical requirement for Northern Powerhouse Rail as well as investing huge amounts of money in developing growth plans that will help our communities make the most of HS2.

“For Chesterfield, the failure to deliver the eastern leg in full means facing the prospect of reduced connectivity for our communities, as well as damaging the momentum we have built up around our ambitious comprehensive plans for both Staveley and the area around Chesterfield Station.

“In the Staveley area alone, planned growth worth at least £1bn has been catalysed by the planned HS2 maintenance depot. Taking this away would be a huge blow for an area that has had its hopes raised on the back of HS2’s plans and would leave a huge question mark over how we can deliver the ambitious growth plans our communities need and deserve.

“It is vital that the Eastern Leg of HS2 is delivered in full and that delivery starts as soon as possible. This is about more than just rail and trains – it’s about new jobs, new homes and new starts for communities that have been denied these opportunities over many years.

“This is a critical issue for Chesterfield and Staveley. I will not rest in working with council and business leaders along the planned Eastern Leg to hold Government to account and to ensure that the Prime Minister honours his commitment to deliver HS2 East in full. Time is of the essence to re-assert the strength of Chesterfield’s social and economic case ahead of Government’s planned publication of its Integrated Rail Plan.”

 

Dom Stevens, manager of Destination Chesterfield commented: “Chesterfield is already moving forward with significant plans and developments so that the town can maximise the wide range of economic benefits HS2 has to offer.

“The originally proposed spur of the line arriving at Chesterfield Station will improve connectivity, journey times and capacity on our rail network locally and nationally, bringing with it vital investment opportunities.

“We would urge the NIC to rethink its recommendations and take into the account the huge strides our town has already made to regenerate its economy, with HS2 playing a huge role in attracting new people into the area to invest, live and work.”

 

 

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