'˜How we got HS2 into central Leeds'

Gerald Jennings, Leeds Chamber presidentGerald Jennings, Leeds Chamber president
Gerald Jennings, Leeds Chamber president
The President of Leeds Chamber will reveal how the city successfully campaigned to change the site of its HS2 station when he appears at a high speed '˜summit' in Sheffield.

Gerald Jennings said “consensus, leadership and positive discussions” led to a new plan for a stop within the existing Leeds station.

Early proposals showed a station on land at New Lane, to the south of the city.

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It sparked a chamber-led campaign to extend the line and create an “integrated” hub featuring HS2, conventional rail and HS3 - high speed lines between northern cities - inside a revamped building.

Network Rail and the Department for Transport will bear some of the costs of the revised scheme.

Mr Jennings will speak at a summit organised by Sheffield Chamber at the City Hall at 8am on Thursday, February 18.

It is campaigning, with The Star, and a host of public and private sector bodies, for an HS2 stop in Sheffield city centre to maximise the economic benefit of the line - including 6,500 more jobs than at the Government’s choice of Meadowhall

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Mr Jennings said: “We got there because we engaged at an early stage and worked with stakeholders in a positive way.

“We wanted to make sure it wasn’t just about HS2 and it connected with other towns and cities, so we were able to get consensus around the plan with Bradford, Wakefield and Huddersfield.”

Leeds Chamber and private sector partners published a report analysing three proposed HS2 station options and proposing a fourth, in a report sent to MPs, Government and local organisations, Mr Jennings added.

They also had a “number of meetings” with Sir David Higgins, the head of HS2 Ltd, who visited Leeds to hear their case.

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Sir David approved the plan in a report “welcomed” by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin and sent to Chancellor George Osborne. He is set to announce the eastern route in his Autumn Statement.

Go to www.scci.org.uk/events to attend the summit.