Posted 29th July 2011 | 8 Comments

HS2 consultation ends as enterprise gets a boost

In Bristol the new zone will be centred on Temple Meads station

In Bristol the new zone will be centred on Temple Meads station

TWO of the four new Enterprise Zones approved by the Government are based on key railway locations, and in Birmingham the area includes the proposed High Speed Rail station.

The announcement came just before the consultation on the route of High Speed 2 ends today. The imminence of the deadline has promoted a final flurry of claims from both sides of the HS2 debate.

The official go-ahead was given for zones in Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds and Sheffield. The Department of Business, Industry and Skills and the Treasury said the zones would 'accelerate local economic growth and could create over 24,000 new jobs by 2015. The zones will benefit from discounts on business rates, new superfast broadband, lower levels of planning control and the potential to use enhanced capital allowances'.

In Birmingham the new zone will occupy more than 68 hectares in the city centre’s Eastside  – and it's around the Curzon Street site earmarked for the terminus of HS2 as well as the existing Moor Street station.

The zone is expected to create 40,000 new jobs in business and financial services, digital media, and the creative industries, including 4,000 new private sector jobs, by 2015. 

The government said  it was takng a 'radical approach' to the planning process, which would be streamlined.

The Birmingham zone 'will harness the opportunities presented by the proposed High Speed 2 stop, which would cut journey times to London to 49 minutes, to attract business into the city centre'.

In Bristol the new zone – known as the Temple Quarter Zone – is to be centred on Temple Meads station. The government said it expects 198 new businesses within the zone, with 80 trading by 2015 and creating almost 4,000 new jobs. It explained that 'creative industries and technology will be key target investors'.

Two more Enterprise Zones have been approved near Leeds and Sheffield, where they would both be linked with the M1.

The locations of a further ten Enterprise Zones will be announced shortly, the government added.

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Melvyn Windebank, Canvey Island, Essex, England

    Those who say we should spend the money elsewhere have not noticed then that £5 BILLION is being spent on the GWR upgrade and electrification scheme alone!!

    HS2 is a mis-nomer given its real purpose is to provide extra new capacity and if you are building a new railway then it makes sense you build it for speed - Just like Brunel did when he built the Great Western railway!!

    What a shame that Stephenson chap came along and spolt the chance of Brunel building most of our rail network!!!

  • Chris Reynell, Longstock, Hampshire.

    Does anyone recall the Virgin East Coast and First Great Western plans to improve existing routes eg bypasses and grade separated junctions?

    Was there a suggestion to build more tilting trains for routes through Cornwall and Devon to raise line speeds significantly.

    If the proposal for HS2 is abandoned or delayed (eg. to find new routes along the motorways) , there must be ways of speeding up and adding more capacity to existing routes in the meantime.

  • nick, hertsion

    those daily elite travel to generate economic activity by winning contracts and creating jobs. there must be a lot of elite however as the trains are overcrowded. and what about the fact that the population is increasing or that 70% of rail traffic is in fact NON business travel.

    crowded platforms and over-crowded trains need more capacity which hs2 will provide. and the fact that billions was spent on the west coast line (with huge over-runs due to its being an upgrade instead of a new line) actually proves both the need for hs2 and proof it is more cost effective then upgrades.

    and we arent talking about starting construction until 2016 so i would hardly call that rushing things - we need it sooner

  • Peter Davidson, Alderley Edge, NW.England

    Yet another ill-considered and ill-thought set of remarks @Tony Pearce

    We can only assume you're referring to HS2 - you don't actually say

    "The line is being rushed through" - had to read that one a few times to take it in properly. Construction won't begin until 2015 at the earliest and probably won't complete until 2026 - if that's your idea of rushed through, I'd hate to think what you consider an orderly timescale - next century!?!

    "What is the line trying to do?" - errrrr.......bring the rest of the UK (outside London/SE) into the 21st century transport revolution

    "Provide employment during a recession?" Construction won't start until 2015 at the earliest - how many times does this need saying?

    "Is it trying to boost air travel away from the South East?" Sounds like a good idea to me - why not

    "Will it provide more employment in Birmingham and further north or will it suck jobs away to London and the South-East?" Jury is out on that one

    "Is this the right route?" - absolutely (unless of course you happen to live in close proximity to the proposed route)

    "Can it be made more environmentally friendly by putting it in tunnels under London and Birmingham?" Already been there and demolished this argument, ask the people of Primrose Hill if there are enough tunnels under London?

    "Could the money be spent better elsewhere improving the network?" What money spent elsewhere - there is no money now, read my lips!

    "Will it attract Terrorist nutters?" No more so than the current WCML, CTRL, Channel Tunnel itself, Terminal 5, Olympic Stadium etc. etc. Is that a reason to not proceed - of course not, it's just a straw man argument!

    "Could the line have slower speeds but more stations?" Well that would conveniently suit those who are affected by the current proposed route wouldn't it? Let's move the argument on to another agenda and then conveniently argue that the new line can be sited next to the M1 corridor, nowhere near my backyard!

    Have we got a transport policy in this country showing how rail, air and road interlock ? Or is it always piecemeal ?

    Finally, a coherent statement, not hard if you really think about it?

  • Paul, London, England

    My goodness, you chaps just don't get it it do you ? HS2 is first and foremost about capacity - not speed. Speed and improved journey times are just by-products of the need to maximise capacity !

    Graham, the WCML will be full before HS2 is completed, despite the tortuous upgrade and the coming 11-car Pendolino's. It is simply not possible to squeeze much more capacity out of what is the busiest mixed traffic route in Europe - the so called RP2 represents poor value for money and relies on technology that has failed numerous times before. There are points during the week now, where it isn't possible to squeeze on a Virgin train.

    Ironically, it is the objectors to HS2 who are the self-interested but powerful niche group, most of whom live in the corridor of the new route,

    E Harris, many of us have super-fast broadband already, but we need to travel more than ever. Note the 7% increase in journeys year on year on the WCML alone. Investment elsewhere on the existing network has to happen alongside HS2.

  • E Harris, Kenilworth, England

    If the area has super fast broadband businesses will be utilising the internet not wasting money on daily elite rail travel expenses.

  • Graham Cliff, Worcester, UK

    What a complete waste of hard earn tax payers money to knock 20 minutes off the journey from Birmingham to London.

    The money would be better spent on the long suffering regular rail users who have to put up with long delays; crowded platforms and carriages.

    The money would be better spent extendig platforms and more passenger capacity.

    The supporters of this scheme are a niche market of a smalll group of vestid interested parties.

    Kill the rail link it is unncessarily paricularly when billions has already been spent on the west coast line.

  • Tony Pearce, Reading, UK

    This line is being rushed through. We still have many unanswered questions.

    What is the line trying to do ?

    Provide employment during a recession ?

    Is it trying to boost air travel away from the South East ?

    Will it provide more employment in Birmingham and further north or will it suck jobs away to London and the South-East ?

    Is this the right route ?

    Can it be made more environmentally friendly by putting it in tunnels under London and Birmingham ?

    Could the money be spent better elsewhere improving the network ?

    Will it attract Terrorist nutters ?

    Could the line have slower speeds but more stations ?

    Have we got a transport policy in this country showing how rail, air and road interlock ? Or is it always piecemeal ?