Wednesday, November 25, 2015

News: "HS3 before HS2"

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The CEO of a Rotherham-based regeneration firm believes that improving connectivity across the North is a bigger priority than connecting the North and South.

The Government gave its backing last year to develop HS3 - a high speed rail link connecting the North's great cities which could significantly reduce journey times across the region - with the Sheffield city region needing to press its case for its inclusion. The issue of better connections between the cities of the North was highlighted by David Higgins, chairman of HS2 Ltd.

HS2 is the £50 billion high speed North to South link - with a South Yorkshire station set to be built at Meadowhall. A final decision on how the project will progress could be announced as part of the Government's Autumn statement this week.

In a report from commercial property agents, Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH) on the opportunities for The Northern Powerhouse, Owen Michaelson, CEO of Harworth Estates, provides his five-point plan for success.

One of the largest property and regeneration companies across the North of England and the Midlands, the company, which is based on its own flagship Waverley development, manages around 31,370 acres across some 200 projects, with consent for 8,000 new homes. It was created through the complex restructure of what was UK Coal.

Focusing on transport, Michaelson said: "Delivery of HS3 is the big priority in the North, not HS2. Sheffield to Liverpool trains take nearly two hours for a 62 mile journey. This continues to harm economic competitiveness and trading possibilities.

"I think the Government will run out of money, heart or time before HS1, HS2 and HS3 are all complete. Phase two of HS2 ought to be put on hold in favour of a focus on HS3 in order to deliver a stronger, quicker economic uplift for the region. When both HS1 and HS3 are complete, HS2 could then be built to join the two powerhouses of the North and South."

The property boss also discusses local planning authorities, how devolution deals can support infrastructure investment, a long term approach to increasing the supply of housing and a stable incentive scheme for low-carbon energy.

He added: "I believe that businesses in the North have the ability and skill to become more productive and competitive. The Northern Powerhouse initiative can create the necessary conditions to give them the best possible chance of success and, in return, business leaders need to support it in what they do and say. That's what I'll be doing."

The Northern Powerhouse Office Market Report 2015/16, published by LSH outlines that occupier and investor confidence across the Northern Powerhouse office markets is riding high. It adds that successful clusters in the North, including the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham, is a source of competitive advantage and must be driven forward.

Harworth Group website
LSH website

Images: Harworth Group

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