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Half a million jobs ‘just the beginning’ as HS2 chair calls on local partnerships to lead the way

Sir Terry Morgan has said that half a million jobs and ninety thousand homes are “just the beginning” of the spread of wealth HS2 will bring to Britain.

Speaking at the Built Environment Networking’s HS2 Economic Growth Conference in Birmingham, the chair of HS2 said that locally-led growth strategies are the key to unlocking the full economic potential of the £55.7bn project.

He said: “Already, incredible opportunities have opened up where HS2 has been embraced and a compelling vision created.

“HS2 is seeing new strategic alliances form which overcome old rivalries. Our local leaders and businesses know best where homes need to be built, where people need retraining and where existing and new industries can grow.

He said it was important for towns and cities take ownership of their own plans, and said only individual regions can rebalance the national economy if they connect, integrate, and share the benefits of growth.

Existing plans illustrate that 500,000 jobs will be created at HS2 station sites, and just under 90,000 homes will be built around the stations, including new garden villages.

Morgan added: “This is only the beginning of the spread of wealth HS2 can bring by joining up Britain. 

“Not every region has developed their thinking yet, and my experience tells that we’ll see these numbers continue to grow.”

He challenged both political and business leaders to work together to ensure the “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity delivers a maximum return, highlighting the work done by the Constellation Partnership and HS2 East which has seen Local Enterprise Partnerships and councils join forces.

Rachel Bailey, leader of the Cheshire East Council, said: “We have formed strategic partnerships to develop a clear plan on how HS2 can support good growth, not just in Crewe or Cheshire East, but across the whole region.

“As a partnership, we are the place where everything connects and for Crewe, HS2 is a major catalyst for delivering this change.”

She said that they had made “great progress to date” and would continue working in partnerships to help deliver a hub which can unlock the “huge potential for sustainable growth associated to HS2 in our area.”

HS2 work in Birmingham began last month following a visit from Chris Grayling and Andy Street, although Conservative ministers are still arguing over the future of the high-speed rail-line.

Sir Terry Morgan, who is also the chair of Crossrail, was chosen by the transport secretary to lead HS2 back in August.

Image credit - Ben Birchall/PA Wire/PA Images

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