Manchester presents how HS2 could be the catalyst for region's growth

Business leaders and senior politicians gathered last week in Manchester to hear how the introduction of Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2 could result in the creation of up to 40,000 new jobs, 13,000 new homes and almost a million square metres of commercial space.

The strategy, being referred to as ‘The stops are just the start’, details how HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) will deliver new jobs, new homes and new opportunities for Greater Manchester at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse.

Northern Powerhouse minister Jake Berry was in Manchester for the launch of the region’s ambitions for high-speed rail which attempted to highlight the untapped growth potential within the north of England.

It also stresses the importance for Manchester Piccadilly to 'build it once and build it right' – maximising benefits and minimising disruption by turning the station, and a new station at Manchester Airport, into true integrated transport hubs that link international, national, regional and local services.

Commenting on the launch, Berry said: Jake Berry, Northern Powerhouse minister, said: “This government is spending more than any other in history – over £13billion – to upgrade the transport network across the Northern Powerhouse. The HS2 Growth Strategy highlights the extensive opportunities and benefits that HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail will bring to the region. We very much welcome its ambition and look forward to today marking the start of an ongoing collaborative relationship, as we work together to develop a bold Northern Powerhouse transport vision that benefits passengers, drives regeneration, and gives value to taxpayers.”

The strategy focuses on four key areas, designed to support the economic growth potential of both HS2 and NPR:

  • Station design and infrastructure;
  • Improved transport connectivity;
  • Regeneration of land around the stations; and,
  • Investment in people, skills and employability.

Among the aspirations for the strategy include improving journey times and capacity between the major northern cities and their connections to London. Northern Powerhouse Rail hopes to connect Manchester to Liverpool, Leeds and Sheffield in around 30 mins and to Newcastle and Hull in under 90 mins. 

HS2 is scheduled to reach Manchester by 2026, with full operations planned for 2033. Earlier this week the first images of what a transformed Piccadilly station could look like were unveiled as part of plans which could see Manchester’s flagship station completely rebuilt. Under the plans, passengers could eventually see a new HS2 terminus on top of a new Metrolink stop, together with a new boulevard connecting three public places, a park, separate bus terminus and taxi ranks.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said: “This strategy shows how HS2 could bring huge benefits to Greater Manchester and the whole of the north. Not only will it bring much needed improvements to transport connectivity, it could also make the areas around Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Airport major centres for economic growth. But we will only realise the full potential of HS2 if we redevelop Piccadilly in the right way, by maximising both the space for development and the frequency of cross-northern services.”

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