East Midlands councils and business leaders have thrown their weight behind construction of an HS2 Hub Station at Toton, Nottinghamshire.
HS2 Ltd chairman, Sir David Higgins, had indicated to local authorities that the high-speed rail line could include a station at either Toton or Breaston, Derbyshire.
Following a meeting between town halls and local firms, the East Midlands HS2 strategic board has concluded locating the station at Toton would offer the greatest potential benefits for the region.
The company responsible for delivering the high-speed line has outlined that any station location will need to be a catalyst for change, offer integrated transport solutions and offer economic value.
However it is understood that a final decision on the location of the hub will not be made until the summer.
Toton was named as the Government’s first choice for the East Midland’s hub yet the option was thrown into doubt over the potential cost of a tunnel under East Midlands Airport. In October 2013, Breaston was also explored as an option despite questions over its position on green belt land and a flood plain.
The East Midlands HS2 Strategic Board has now agreed the Toton option could be more accessible from nearby urban areas and would offer improved connectivity to the north of England and Scotland.
Cllr Jon Collins, Nottingham City Council leader and chair of the group said: ‘It has been vital that the East Midlands comes together and speaks with one voice on HS2. The technical work the board has led over the last few months has demonstrated that Toton has the greatest potential to benefit the region - provided that we get the connectivity right, with effective links to Derby being particularly important.’
Vice chair of the board, Cllr Anne Western, said: ‘The HS2 Hub Station at Toton and the Maintenance Depot at Staveley together have the potential to boost jobs across the East Midlands - and to rebuild pride and excellence in our manufacturing and construction sectors. We owe it to future generations to make the most of these fantastic opportunities.’
Peter Richardson, Chair of the D2N2 LEP added: ‘The economic benefits of HS2 for the East Midlands could be huge. But we need a concerted and co-ordinated effort to turn that potential into reality. Now that we have a consensus on station location, we need to move quickly to develop detailed proposals for maximizing economic growth and connectivity.’