HS2, the FT and Radio Nottingham

It was a busy day yesterday! Breakfast was with the Regional Editor for Property Week – one of the Industries top read magazines. I was telling him all about HS2 and how Nottingham ‘needed’ a station on the new line…

Then I got a call to say that a letter I had signed along with 68 other Business leaders from Nottingham and around the UK had appeared in the Financial Times. The letter was effectively supporting the HS2 line. And then the phone started ringing – a brief interview with Radio Nottingham and another with The Nottingham Evening Post rounded my day off!

The theme of the questions was ‘why do you support the HS2 Line?’ – which is quite easy really.

I think it will be great for Nottingham. Clearly a major benefit will be for business commuting to London with a journey time estimed at under an hour. But it’s not just to London, many of our businesses are now competing overseas and in Europe. It will connect us with Europe more easily. But I have another view – a station in Nottingham will put us on the map. It will encourage visitors here. We need this – we need, at the same time, to capitalise on Robin Hood (and I hope to have more on that at a later date!).

But there are some other interesting facts around the line (which seems to have attracted more NIMBY-ISM than positive press?). Firstly, it is estimated that around 40,000 jobs will be created around the construction of the line and in regenerated areas near the new stations. If you free up the exiting lines of the faster trains more local services will be able to be run (fast trains and slow trains don’t mix!). And, for the green agenda, it will be carbon neutral from the start.

There will clearly be some disruption – and I understand the NIMBY lobby. But we need to see the bigger picture here. This is a long term project that could secure a very rosy picture for Nottingham, and the surrounding towns. It would give us a competitive edge over other places.

And that’s why I lend my support wholeheartedly to the scheme…

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9 comments on “HS2, the FT and Radio Nottingham

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention HS2, the FT and Radio Nottingham | Tim Garratt's Blog -- Topsy.com

  2. Tim, it was a great attention-grabber – I nearly spluttered on my cornflakes when I saw your name in the FT yesterday morning. There’s no question that a faster rail link is important for Nottingham. Speaking s someone who lives out east, I take a great deal of pleasure in using the train from Newark to London. It’s quicker than the current Nottingham service, easier to get to…and Nottingham’s got to do something to match it.

    • I’m sorry I gave you indigestion! We need somehow to keep this HS2 story on the front page – and not be detracted by the NIMBY folks. This is really important for Nottingham….

  3. Tim,

    This is a touchy subject for me. Being from Birmingham, a city which is set to be a part of HS2 and having parents who live in a small village just outside of Birmingham, means I have heard all possible arguments for and against the scheme as a local and wider issue.

    I love Birmingham, as you do Nottingham I’m sure. Hence, anything that benefits Birmingham I am usually in support of. HS2 is no doubt going to be good for local businesses and make the city a more attractive prospect for investment but I have to ask at what cost?

    HS2 is going to cost you and I, the taxpayer, billions and a number of points in the government case are based on a truly fallacious number of forecasts (I have a very interesting PowerPoint on this if you would like to see it). The cost is vast; considering we are as a nation ‘broke’ at the moment it seems insensitive to spend this amount of money on something most people simply wont use or be able to use (it isn’t going to be a cheap ticket!). I also have to consider that the proposed route runs 200m from my parent’s house, which will no doubt decrease their house value, affecting their retirement and the government will not provide any compensation for this. There are thousands of others in the same situation as my parents.

    But all that said, I am still to be persuaded either way………

    Kr
    Matt

    • Hi Matt – yes there are some downsides to the argument – and cost is one as is the (perfectly valid) NIMBY argument.

      My support comes from adopting a very high level business perspective – it must be good for Nottingham (and the other places with stops). But there are some issues which will have to be addressed- including the compensation scheme.

      In terms of the cost – HS2 as I understand it will not start spending serious money on HS2 until building starts early in the next parliament. By that time under the Government’s plans should have eliminated the structural deficit. The money for HS2 comes from a strategic pot of infrastructure funding like Crossrail.  We currently spend about £2bn a year on crossrail, when that spending begins reducing we will then start to spend about £2bn a year for 15 years on HS2. 

      There is some way to go, but on balance I think we need to plan these long tailed infrastructure projects now – in 10 years it will be too late!

  4. Hi Tim

    OK yes I see where you are coming from.

    I agree it’s important we keep up to speed with other countries and work to develop these infrastructure projects.

    I just hope we don’t up doing what we are doing with HS1, spending over £5bn and selling it for half that. I’m no expert but that doesn’t seem like good business.

    Kr
    Matt

    • Matt – it is worrying how Government sometimes seems get ‘estimates’ so wrong! Perhaps a fixed price contract on the rail? Like we have to give fixed prices?

      Tim

  5. Pingback: HS2 – good news for Nottingham? | Tim Garratt's Blog

  6. Pingback: Public transport – and HS2 « Simon Dare's Blog

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