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When the plans to build a second high-speed rail line from London to Manchester and Leeds – via Birmingham – were put forward six years ago, the impact of High Speed 2 (hereafter HS2) became a hotly debated topic. The project is estimated to cost £50 billion, and will provide around 25,000 jobs through its construction.
Eugene O’Sullivan, Managing Director at Morgan Pryce, said: “I’m a firm believer that this will bring many positives, including redistribution of wealth, more jobs and higher investments. The HS2 will most certainly rebalance the economy, by removing the focus from the South of England whilst also generating local opportunities along the line in surrounding areas.”
The increased connectivity will allow companies to expand out of London and set up branches in other cities, resulting in more business opportunities and economic growth.
However, opponents have argued there could also be potential negative outcomes from the HS2 developments. Eugene O’Sullivan commented: “There might be a risk that the HS2 could draw skilled workers and jobs from their regional cities into London, further increasing the divide between London and cities such as Leeds. The £50 billion cost has also received criticism, as there is always a risk that a high investment will not provide value for money.”
One of the keys to unlocking HS2’s success is to not thinking of it as a standalone solution to the North-South divide. Various experts argue that HS2 has to be complimented by a supportive business environment and strategic plan, if each covered region are to benefit the value of the development.
In terms of routes, the first phase of HS2 will bring the high speed line into Birmingham’s Curzon Street Station, which is currently undergoing a £600 million transformation. Curzon Street is on the east of the City Centre area, and this will undoubtedly help encourage growth towards Eastside, Beorma Quarter and Digbeth. It is also within walking distance of the financial district of Snow Hill. The second phase is an extension of the line to Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Airport, in addition to Leeds New Lane; this should be complete by 2032 and bring the ‘Northern Powerhouse together as a single economic entity’.
This news was brought to you by Morgan Pryce, a specialist tenant acquisition agent with offices in Oxford Circus and the City. Morgan Pryce specialises in search, negotiation and project management and works exclusively for tenants.