Leeds City Region plan to maximise HS2 impact launched

HS2 is also expected to make the Leeds City Region a more attractive location for inward investment and generate a significant increase in tourism.

The strategy makes the case for �20m to carry out further feasibility work and determine the total level of financial support required to implement the proposals which is likely to be significant.

Find out how you can take part in the engagement exercise on the Leeds City Region HS2 Growth Strategy begins today, which continues until Friday 2 March.

Sheer scale of opportunity

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, West Yorkshire Combined Authority chair, said: ""The strategy sets out the sheer scale of the opportunity HS2 presents for the whole region and the transformative impact it could have on its economic prospects.

""It is vital that we ensure all our communities benefit. Work is therefore already underway to identify the improvements required along key transport corridors with a view to making sure all cities and towns are ready to connect to HS2 when it opens.""

HS2 Chairman Sir David Higgins said: �One of HS2�s key purposes is to give local regions the chance to think about how they can build on their own distinctive skills and expertise to make not only themselves, but the country as a whole more competitive and productive. Leeds City Region were amongst the first to recognise that unique opportunity and seize it with both hands, as this plan shows.�

Maximising benefits for all our communities

Cllr Keith Wakefield, West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee chair, said: �HS2 represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the Leeds City Region and this strategy is designed to ensure we maximise the benefits for all our communities.

�The arrival of HS2 is about more than speeding up journeys and increasing rail capacity, important though that is. It will unlock new business opportunities, create high-skilled jobs, spur regeneration and attract investment.

�Turning these exciting proposals into action will require substantial further funding over a long period and I hope the Government will respond positively to the vision we have set out today.�

Cllr Judith Blake, Leeds City Council leader and West Yorkshire Combined Authority member, said: �HS2 is an incredible opportunity to create something truly transformational to the economy of our city and the wider region.

�It is a very rare chance to bring a wealth of jobs and investment that can be shared by everyone across all our communities, widening our options to work and travel and opening up new skills sectors.

�If this vision gets the financial support it deserves it will empower us and our partners to make sure HS2 drives the biggest boost that has been seen in decades to the economy of Leeds and its neighbours.�

Essential ingredient

Roger Marsh OBE, Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership chair, said: �Improving transport connections is an essential ingredient to achieving our economic ambitions for the Leeds City Region and this strategy sets out a roadmap to capturing the full value of the investment in HS2.

�By making the right choices now, and with the right support from Government, we can prepare today�s teenagers for the wealth of opportunities that HS2 and other significant investments will bring in the years ahead.�

Construction of the eastern leg of HS2 is due to begin in 2023 and be completed in 2033. Once open it will cut journey times between Leeds and Birmingham from one hour 58 minutes to 49 minutes and between Leeds and London from two hours and 11 minutes to one hour 21 minutes. These journey times will open up new job opportunities and markets, spur regeneration and make the Leeds City Region an even more attractive location to start and grow a business.

Find out how you can take part in the engagement exercise on the Leeds City Region HS2 Growth Strategy begins today, which continues until Friday 2 March.

In November, images of how the re-modeled Leeds Station could look as a result of the Leeds Integrated Station Masterplan have been released.