East Midlands' HS2 ambitions and expectations debated at ITC workshop

The East Midlands' readiness to make the most of opportunities presented by High Speed Rail 2 was discussed by representatives from civil society, businesses, universities and landholders at a special event held at Nottingham Business School.

The East Midlands' readiness to make the most of opportunities presented by High Speed Rail 2 (HS2) was discussed by representatives from civil society, businesses, universities and landholders at a special Independent Transport Commission (ITC) event held at Nottingham Business School, Nottingham Trent University.

The workshop, Creating and Capturing the Opportunities of HS2 and its Associated Infrastructure Investment for the East Midlands, questioned the ambitions and expectations of the region and how different groups would measure success.

The Nottingham Business School-sponsored event was held as part of a series of regional debates following the publication of the ITC's independent report on the spatial effects of High Speed Rail, Ambitions and Opportunities.

The report draws together the findings from a series of workshops, symposia and field trips across Europe and the UK and identifies the need to understand High Speed Rail as the cornerstone of an integrated infrastructure network which could act as a catalyst for regional economic regeneration.

HS2 has become the stimulus to think about wider issues which are relevant to the region.

John Worthington, commissioner of ITC

At the East Midlands workshop, the location of the proposed station was discussed, identifying the special characteristics which could make it a vibrant gateway to the East Midlands. The delegates saw the station at Toton as a "hub" - an interchange between modes of transport, but also a place of social and economic exchange.

Attendees also discussed how the East Midlands hub should stimulate the development of skills, and involve and train young professionals in order to achieve long-term socio-economic benefit. An ITC example from Bordeaux was explored, where educational programmes have been introduced to engage young people in the process of change.

It was agreed that the region as a whole has to identify its unique assets that draw outsiders to the area rather than looking for one dominant brand.

The ITC is now helping East Midlands Councils to consider the opportunities to improve regional connectivity to the other core cities. John Worthington, commissioner of ITC, said: "HS2 has become the stimulus to think about wider issues which are relevant to the region."

Dr John Disney, transport expert at Nottingham Business School, expressed hope that the event would be a catalyst for further discussion on High Speed Rail in the region, noting that HS2 Ltd are due to release station plans for Toton in January 2016. "We need to avoid becoming a flyover state that is bypassed on the way from London to the Northern Powerhouse and this will require business leaders and local authorities to work together for long term gains, whilst recognising the short–term benefits that could accrue from devolution and a D2N2 Mayoral position" said Dr Disney after the event.

We need to avoid becoming a flyover state that is bypassed on the way from London to the Northern Powerhouse.

Dr John Disney, Nottingham Business School

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East Midlands' HS2 ambitions and expectations debated at ITC workshop

Published on 23 September 2015
  • Category: Business; Nottingham Business School

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