Longer HS2 tunnel could help developer create over 7,000 jobs in East Midlands
13 May 2013 • Author: Department for Transport (DfT)
Government has now developed a revised option involving extending a proposed tunnel under the East Midlands Airport.
A tunnel on the proposed route of Britain’s High Speed 2 rail network could be extended to enable plans for a major development next to East Midlands Airport to progress, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced today (13 May 2013).
During discussions with MPs and local authorities on the proposed route for phase two of HS2 from Birmingham to Leeds, concerns were raised by Leicestershire County Council, and MP for North West Leicestershire, Andrew Bridgen, in conjunction with Roxhill Developments Limited, that the proposed line could affect plans for a strategic rail freight interchange depot (SRFI) next to the airport.
The initial preferred route would have seen the new rail line cross the site of the proposed SRFI, which has the potential to create 7,000 jobs in the region, and threaten the feasibility of the proposed development.
After listening to these concerns, the government has now developed a revised option involving extending the proposed tunnel under the East Midlands Airport, avoiding the majority of the proposed SRFI site. The Department for Transport will consult on the route later in the year as part of its public consultation on phase two, and after that consultation, a decision will be made. In the meantime, the developer will progress its plans for the proposed depot.
Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, said:
“These changes have the potential to deliver huge economic benefits for the East Midlands on top of the already considerable opportunities HS2 will bring the region.
“They also show that we are both maximising the economic impact of HS2 as well as listening to concerns of those affected by it.
“We will continue to work with stakeholders, to identify critical issues such as Roxhill and propose revisions to the scheme where possible.”
Kate Bedson, Senior Development Director at Roxhill said:
“Our proposals for a new SRFI with 6 million square feet of associated warehousing have the potential to create 7,000 jobs, providing a boost to the economy in the region.
“Since the announcement, through our MP and local authority, we have enjoyed an early and positive dialogue with DfT and HS2 Ltd and are very pleased with the decision to amend the proposed route. This now allows us to consult with the public and other bodies on our plans before submitting our application at the end of the year.”
The East Midlands region is already set to benefit hugely from HS2 with an integrated high speed and classic rail station at Toton, creating a brand new, easily accessed hub station. This will see journeys to London slashed to just 51 minutes, while the stations in Leeds, Sheffield, East Midlands and Birmingham will each be separated by a journey of less than 20 minutes, making daily commuting easy.