National backing for rail college bid

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Business and council leaders from up and down the UK are backing the bid for a High Speed Rail college in Doncaster.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has declared his “wholehearted support” for the bid, while Local Enterprise Partnerships across the North have written to business secretary Vince Cable and skills minister Matthew Hancock urging the panel to choose Sheffield City Region.

Scottish councillors, Cambridgeshire Chambers and universities are among those behind the move.

The HS2 rail college will be a research and teaching centre for engineering skills. A five-acre greenfield site has been earmarked at Doncaster Lakeside near the town centre.

The bid to bring the college to Doncaster was submitted to Government by the private sector-led Centre for Rail And Technical Excellence, coordinated by Doncaster Council and supported by Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership.

LEP chair James Newman said: “Bringing the High Speed Rail College to Sheffield City Region would spread the benefits of HS2 investment and show the government means what it says when it talks about building a ‘northern powerhouse’.

Mayor Ros Jones said: “The Yorkshire team has put forward a strong case. We have a host of household names in the sector who have led this bid, a prime ‘ready to go’ site, plans to grow rail and engineering businesses and private and public sector support from up and down the country.

Coun Will Dawson, chair of Tayside and Central Scotland Transport Partnership, said: “It is logical for us to support Doncaster, not only as part of the East Coast Mainline authorities but also in stressing the need for High Speed Rail to extend beyond the Midlands and Manchester and ultimately to Scotland.”