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East Midlands Chamber News

Exploiting HS2 in the East Midlands

Maximising the potential of the HS2 in the East Midlands will be the sole focus of a new regional business advisory group.

Set up by the Chamber, working with Strategic Partner Geldards LLP, the HS2 Business Advisory Group aims to ensure the region takes full advantage of the most ambitious rail infrastructure project the country has seen since Victorian times.

It has been calculated that HS2 will be worth about £4bn a year to the economy of the East Midlands and South Yorkshire once trains start running in 2032.

But between now and then there will be myriad opportunities for business in the region to capitalise on being involved in a project that is being hailed as transformational for the region.

The HS2 Business Advisory Group has been created to develop asks and activity around how the economic impacts of HS2 can be exploited to greatest advantage and to link opportunities with the wider growth agendas of HS2 in the region.

In particular, the group’s work will focus on how to ensure:
•Maximising the economic opportunities of the stations at Toton and Chesterfield
•Ensuring local businesses benefit from the construction and delivery of HS2
•Supporting skills development activity across the region to align with the opportunities created by HS2
•Using HS2 to drive forward a wider long-term vision for growth across the East Midlands.

The creation of a hub station at Toton, a stop at Chesterfield and a maintenance depot/construction site at Staveley, bring with them opportunities for significant infrastructure improvements, inward investment and regeneration of surrounding communities.

These opportunities are in addition to the construction of HS2 itself, with contracts for the development of Phase One from London to Birmingham already being awarded.

Chris Hobson, Director of Policy at East Midlands Chamber, said: “It is essential throughout this process that the private sector in the East Midlands maintains a strong influence on the development, ensuring that the opportunities arising from HS2 are maximised to ensure that a vision for a successful East Midlands economy is driven by an understanding of the long-term business needs and opportunities for the region.”

David Williams, Chairman at Geldards LLP, said: “HS2 is set to be one of the most influential changes the region has seen for a very long time, and one that will affect both Geldards as a business and our clients. We are looking forward to working with East Midlands Chamber and the other businesses on the board to ensure HS2 has a positive impact on the East Midlands as a whole and every business that acts within it.”

The first meeting of the HS2 Business Advisory Group took place last week (Weds) at Geldard’s offices on the NG2 business park, Nottingham. It was chaired by Ian Morgan, Deputy Chairman of the Wellglade Group, which operates a number of bus companies serving the East Midlands and beyond and also Nottingham Express Transit.

Ian said: “HS2 has the potential to be transformational for the East Midlands economy, it brings opportunities for significant infrastructure improvements, inward investment and regeneration of surrounding communities. I am honoured to be chairing this group and to represent the regional business community to ensure these opportunities are maximised to benefit the whole region.”

It is envisaged that the work of the HS2 Business Advisory Group will take place over a 12-month period, with the end product being a series of key business asks created against the focus areas of the group.

It will maintain close relations throughout with the local authority-led East Midlands HS2 Strategic Board which in September last year published a growth vision for the region World Class – Locally Driven. The strategy outlines the plans to be taken forward in the region.

A delivery board for realising these plans is currently being formed. A copy of the strategy can be found at http://bit.ly/2Exm9Pc.