A key element of the Government’s plan to ensure that areas extract the maximum possible benefit from the investment being made in HS2, is to task partners in each station location to prepare an HS2 Growth strategy, setting out their plans for generating local jobs, growth and regeneration linked to HS2. ekosgen has been working with partners across Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire to feed into the East Midlands’ emerging HS2 Growth Strategy – Fast Track to Growth – which has recently been published. Our work has focussed on identifying the economic opportunities arising from the HS2 station at Toton, which will be the best connected station on the HS network outside London.
The work involved a detailed baseline review of the current strengths and weaknesses of the economy, including sectoral specialisms, spatial concentrations of employment, existing and planned development opportunities, and a review of connectivity across the study area. The ekosgen-led team, which also included transport specialists Fore Consulting, facilitated two stakeholder workshops, one with officers to review the baseline position, and one with senior partners from local, regional and national bodies to agree the vision for HS2 in the East Midlands, and identify a preferred economic growth scenario.
Cambridge Econometrics were commissioned to explore the potential economic uplift arising from the different scenarios considered. Our work suggests that partners can build on HS2 to boost employment growth from just below to above the projected UK trend - equivalent to an additional local 74,000 jobs and an extra £4 billion to the UK economy, providing that the connectivity that HS2 will bring can be levered to further strengthen the East Midlands’ competitive advantage in key sectors including advanced manufacturing, as well as growing the crucial professional, financial and business services sector.
The final element of the work involved identifying the key interventions that will need to be delivered if the partners’ vision is to be achieved. Over the next six months, East Midlands partners will continue to refine the strategy, the final version of which will be submitted in summer 2017. Alongside this, business cases are being developed for the interventions that will need to be delivered if the full potential of HS2 in the East Midlands is to be realised.