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New LEP partnership catalysed by HS2 to capitalise on Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine

A new partnership between seven councils and two local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) in the north west, bridging the link between the Northern Powerhouse and the Midlands Engine, is determined to capitalise on the regional economic potential of HS2.

The Northern Gateway Partnership was launched today (22 October) as a way to unlock rail growth in the region by optimising the benefits of HS2 investment.

Entirely catalysed by the planned investment of HS2 in the north, the group consists of the local authorities for Cheshire East, Cheshire West & Chester, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Stafford, Staffordshire, Staffordshire Moorland and Stoke-on-Trent – as well as the Cheshire & Warrington and Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire LEPs.

Cllr Elizabeth Shenton, leader of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, said that should an HS2 station be located near the borough, they want to ensure that the improved transport infrastructure and employment opportunities are maximised.

And Christine Gaskell, chair of Cheshire & Warrington LEP, said: “The Northern Gateway Partnership will put the north and the midlands in a strong position to deliver nationally significant economic growth, capitalising on the opportunities and investment that will be generated by HS2.

“Committing to work across boundaries and regions will enable us to work together in a joined up and strategic way, with the backing of government, to maximise our role in delivering the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine.”

The partnership added that HS2 presents a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to become an engine for growth across the UK, especially by providing rail capacity and connectivity between the north and the south.

The opportunities and prosperity embedded in the massive rail programme will therefore form the partnership’s focal point, although it will also seek to maximise housing and job development linked to transport innovations.

Separately today, the Midlands Connect partnership was launched at the Derby Roundhouse, with £5m government funding to take the strengthened strategy forward.

Transport minister Robert Goodwill MP said: “In addition to the massive investment the government is making in our transport infrastructure, we want to help regions across the country to make their voices heard on how their transport networks are run. We know that good transport doesn’t just help people get around, it helps them get on and these are key components of our long term economic plan to boost jobs and growth.”

HS2 Ltd chair Sir David Higgins said: “HS2 has the potential to be more than a new railway. It’s an unprecedented opportunity to create jobs, build homes, boost skills and employment and improve connectivity across the country.”


Graham Nalty   23/10/2015 at 13:08

These are only great so long as HS2 Ltd and the DfT actually listen to the voices of Midland Connect and the Northern Gateway and act upon the evidence that these bodies provide. This does mean, for example, that classic compatible HS2 trains serve the city centres of Nottingham and Stoke on Trent as currently being lobbied. Providing these bodies do not become an ineffective 'talking shop', but instead provide hard evidence on the measures that will generate economic growth as a result of better connectivity between city centres, they are most welcome.

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