Where is the East Midlands

Earlier in the year I blogged about ‘where is Nottingham‘ and in the last week have been considering a wider question. Where is the East Midlands?

My interest has been driven by a comment made at the talk I gave last week regarding the HS2 Line – and someone in the audience suggested a station be located at East Midlands Airport. I am not sure that I agree – but partly as there is a real lack of identity about the airport. It is located between three of the East Midlands major cities – but after that what is the sense of ‘place’?

The airport has an interesting history in terms of a name:

RAF Castle Donington
East Midlands Airport
Nottingham East Midlands Airport
East Midlands Airport: Nottingham, Leicester, Derby

It has also been known as East Midlands International Airport, is located in Leicestershire and owned by Manchester Airports Group!

My concern about having a Station there is that no one will know where it is – other than the people who live in the donut area around it. And we need to be very clear about where we are!

I have found a map (shown) and I think this is the ‘right’ East Midlands. But you will see that it spreads from South of Northampton up to the Humber. It is a ‘branding’ nightmare. And perhaps this is the problem – we have little in common between out three major Cities – if you ‘ignore’ Northampton let alone across the entire region.

So my view was that any new major physical presence on a piece of infrastructure needs to learn from the lessons of the airport – it needs to be at a proper place.

The only good news in the last week was that the bad press caused by the finding of a bomb on board a plane at EMA was not directly associated with Nottingham – for a change. Not all PR is good PR!