CITIES need to plan now to enjoy the benefits of the proposed HS2 rail line, according to a report to be launched in Leeds today (Monday).
The Independent Transport Commission thinktank warns high speed rail alone will not have a major impact on the economy and cities need to have plans in place that maximise the benefits.
HS2 will run from Leeds to Birmingham and London with services due to start in 2032.
Leeds has already begun planning for its arrival with proposals to transform the city’s station into a ‘hub’ connecting HS2 to existing rail services and plans for high speed trans-Pennine services.
The city also has ambitious plans to transform the area across the river south of the station where fashion brand Burberry already has plans for a new factory.
Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake said: “We are working with our partners from the business community and neighbouring authorities to make sure HS2 builds on the economic strengths and successes in Leeds and the Leeds City Region.
“The development of the Yorkshire Hub station will act as a landmark gateway welcoming visitors and business travellers to the city and region, and will be transformative in terms of new jobs, skills, regeneration and business opportunities.”
The commission recommends building transport networks that connect into high speed rail services and have development plans for areas around stations.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “HS2 will bring transformational benefits to the economy of the whole country.
“It has the potential to generate jobs, stimulate growth and provide the vital capacity and increased connectivity to help rebalance our economy.
“That is why it’s crucial that cities and regions along the route take full advantage and develop plans that will attract investment and help people access jobs.”