HS1 celebrates its 10th anniversary in style, with a £300M boost to Kent’s economy

24 September, 2017

New research looking at the impact HS1 has had on Kent’s visitor economy shows that the high-speed service boosted the county’s economy by almost £73m last year alone, with  the total economic impact since 2007 standing at £311m.

The report shows that leisure journeys to Kent have increased almost nine-fold, from 100,000 in 2010 to 890,000 in 2016, which has contributed more than £300m to the local visitor economy.  Almost one third (30%) of all those surveyed were influenced in their decision to visit Kent by the presence of the high-speed service.

Over 400 visitors and 175 businesses took part in the study, which found that HS1 and the availability of high speed rail connections to London has played a significant role in the county’s growth – highlighting, in the words of Kent County Council’s Leader Paul Carter, “the very clear link between investment in infrastructure and growth”.

The full report can be accessed here


HS2 asked to look again at Birmingham Interchange station plans

14 August, 2017

The UK Central Solihull Urban Growth Company (UGC) has formally requested that HS2 Ltd considers modifying its design for the Birmingham Interchange station – so that the benefit of HS2 to the surrounding region can be increased.

Established to develop the economy of a key part of Greater Birmingham and Solihull, UCG proposes a revised design that offers a “fully-connected, urban quarter” with the interchange station at its heart. The revised design, first highlighted at the HSR Industry Leaders’ 2017 Conference in Birmingham on June 22nd, is intended to provide housing and jobs located in the immediate catchment of the planned HS2 station. UCG estimates that the modifications could create up to 77,500 jobs, up to 4,000 homes, 775,000 sq metres of commercial space and up to £4.1bn GVA, with the development of the 350-acre site known as Arden Cross critical to these numbers.

So rather than see HS2’s Birmingham Interchange surrounded by car parks as currently envisaged….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…with some changes to the HS2 station and a different pattern of development, UK Central hopes to create this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greengauge 21 has expressed caution in the past about the wisdom of out-of-town station locations whose primary purpose is to accommodate large-scale park-and ride, and so we welcome these revisions. In our view, this development illustrates three important factors:

  1. HS2 creates the opportunity for more intensive – and therefore more sustainable – patterns of development around its stations, both on the line of route and beyond it at key stations where HS2 high-speed services will call, which can provide a blueprint for other developments;
  2. While HS2 is the catalyst for development, it requires strong local aspiration and leadership to exploit it;
  3. The existence of Parliamentary Powers (those for HS2 Phase 1 including Birmingham Interchange were granted Royal Assent in April this year) does not preclude worthwhile adaptations to the HS2 plans at a subsequent time – provided of course, these can be accommodated in the build programme.

The proposed changes to the Hybrid Act include altering bridges, moving roads and creating new landscape features, the costs of which will be met by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) through its HS2 Growth Strategy Fund. The UGC plans will be complemented by measures that TfWM are planning, including the extension of a Midlands Metro LRT line to the area.

One note of caution relates to the sustainability objectives, which require joined-up planning of housing, workplaces, excellent public transport, and green spaces – so the economic stimulus benefits will need to be considered alongside, in this instance, the protection of the green space between Birmingham and Coventry.

It is Greengage 21’s view that the UK Central Solihull UGC’s plans look capable of  achieving these objectives, and the revised plans for the surrounds of Birmingham Interchange are a further step in the right direction for HS2.

HS2 Ltd is expected to make a decision on UGC’s proposals by the end of the year.

Images courtesy of UK Central Solihull Urban Growth Company (UGC)

© July 2017, Greengauge 21, Some Rights Reserved: We actively encourage people to use our work, and simply request that the use of any of our material is credited to Greengauge 21 in the following way: Greengauge 21, Title, Date

 


HS2 is happening!

18 July, 2017

The Government’s announcements of July 17th commit £6.6bn to the construction of the Phase 1 scheme that gained Parliamentary powers earlier this year. The seven contracts that have been let cover civil engineering over the length of the Phase 1 route, from detailed design to construction, including major tunnelling works. Contracts for rolling stock, systems, power supply and stations – for which invitations to tender documents have already been released – will follow.

At a time of economic weakness, these commitments represent a very significant boost to the national economy, with an expectation of 16,000 jobs. Sixty percent of jobs are expected to go to SMEs across Britain.

But that’s not all. Read on »


How HS2 can power regional economies

4 July, 2017

HS2 – now with Parliamentary Powers – is triggering private sector investment around stations, and not just in major cities.

Stafford and Solihull

By 2026, stations in the historic counties of Staffordshire and Warwickshire will get HS2 services.

The new Stafford Gateway Masterplan would regenerate largely disused land near to Stafford railway station where HS2 services will be operating over existing rail lines. It could provide Read on »


2017 marks a huge step forward for HS2

10 May, 2017

The powers to build the first phase of HS2 – linking Euston with Birmingham Curzon Street and with the West Coast Main Line at Handsacre – achieved Royal Assent on 23rd February. As the accompanying Government announcement said, we can expect construction to start this Spring.

The background chatter will be how slowly the wheels turn towards implementation, but by the standards of our European or North American peer group, this is a good rate of progress. High-speed rail in Britain had no mainstream political support until 2008. Royal Assent nine years on is a case of leaps and bounds. Read on »