STAFFORDSHIRE is in great shape and in a great place to capitalise on a HS2 hub to help share in any economic benefits and drive the growth of the economy – that was the view of the county’s leader when he spoke on Thursday.
Following the launch of HS2: Getting the best out of Britain, County Council Leader Philip Atkins said the county was already well placed to maximise on improved connectivity and the drive to create more highly skilled jobs to meet the demands of a modern economy.
Philip said: “From the outset, we have made it clear that we were determined to get the best deal on HS2 for the whole of Staffordshire, our communities and our businesses in terms of mitigation, compensation, better connectivity and a share of any economic benefits.
“While we continue to champion the cause of communities along the route, it is important that Staffordshire and neighbouring cities, towns and villages share in shorter journey times and better connections via HS2 Stations and the HS2 hub at Stafford, which the construction of the Handsacre Link will allow.
“In Staffordshire, we have been at the forefront of harnessing the combined powers or research, intelligence and digital technology and the unique collaboration with partners in the Keele Innovation and Science Park a prime example of this.
“I am pleased that this report, once again recognises the huge wealth of experience and potential outside London and, today it is not just cities but counties which can be the driving force in growing not just a regional, but a national economy.
Today’s report by HS2 Limited’s Chairman Sir David Higgins, drew on evidence from over 100 employers, local authorities and universities and says that world-leading skills and research in the Midlands and the North can match that of London and the South East. Cities and regions in the Midlands and North account for 32 percent of the UK’s research staff working in universities with high-quality research, compared to 35 percent in London and the South East.
Philip added: “In our role with Midlands Connect, which will deliver strategic infrastructure and transport projects for the Midlands Engine and with the Constellation Partnership to the North we have an unparalleled opportunity to improve transport links across our regions.”
In total, Phase One and Phase 2a of HS2 will see the high-speed train route run through 45 miles of Staffordshire, with HS2 compatible trains running via Stafford from 2026. The county council petitioned on Phase One, which resulted in five miles of the route being lowered in Lichfield.