The East Midlands phase of the new HS2 development will be “essential to its success”, say directors of the project.
Sir Terry Morgan, chairman of HS2, has used his first engagement to reinforce support for Phase 2b of the project which will pass through the region.
He outlined its importance in the success of the UK’s biggest ever infrastructure scheme, which aims to develop a high speed connection between Birmingham, Toton in the East Midlands, Sheffield and Leeds.
It is hoped that Phase 2b will unlock economic potential, creating tens of thousands of additional jobs and opportunities to benefit millions of residents.
In a speech, Mr Morgan said: “Skills and the regeneration of communities will be the long-term legacy of this project and the economic benefits are likely to significantly outstrip current projections.
“As ex-chair of Crossrail, I can tell you that we’ve already seen a boost to the economy that is more than double what we first thought, before the first train has even left the platform.
“For HS2 to work for the whole of the UK, Phase 2b must continue to move forward.
“The line will connect some of the country’s most promising growth areas, with Toton, Sheffield, Leeds, Chesterfield and Newcastle all set to reap significant rewards.
“This prosperity will not be restricted to urban centres, it will also be felt by the communities in the surrounding towns and rural areas.”
Andrew Pritchard from HS2 East, East Midlands and Midlands Connect, added: “The eastern leg of Phase 2b is not expendable.
“Local and regional partners in the East Midlands, Yorkshire and beyond must band together to remind Government of the considerable value Phase 2b will bring to the UK economy.
“Over 60 per cent of Phase Two’s economic benefits come from the Eastern leg.
“Nobody can deny that better linking key regional centres will attract inward investment and create jobs.
“That’s something everyone wants.”
The introduction of the Phase 2b line into Toton and the East Midlands has been welcomed by Councillor Kay Cutts, leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, who says HS2 has the potential for “massive economic benefits for Nottinghamshire and the wider region”.
She said: “This has the potential to benefit local people and our economy for generations to come, but we must plan and act now if those benefits are going to be achieved.”
She also described Nottinghamshire’s selection as the location for the new East Midlands HS2 Station as a “once in a generation opportunity” for the local, regional and national economy.
It is expected that the selection will include new infrastructure, homes and thousands of new jobs before and after the expected opening of the new station at Toton in 2033.