Business leaders react following "frustrating" cancellation of HS2 Leeds leg

Business leaders have had their say on the impact the cancellation of HS2 could have on businesses and the local economy.

By Alex Grant
Friday, 19th November 2021, 4:45 pm

Prime Minister Boris Johnson officially confirmed the cancellation of the Eastern Leeds leg of the HS2 rail service as part of yesterday's Integrated Rail Plan.

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"They lied to us": Leeds MP hits out as government officially cancel Leeds leg o...

But local business owners have spoken of their frustration at the cancellation and the impact it could have on their bottom line.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson officially confirmed the official cancellation of the Eastern leg of the HS2 as part of yesterday's Integrated Rail Plan. Picture: Andrew Fox/Getty Images.

"Anything that inhibits the ingress of people into the city centre is a negative." explained Martin Greenhow, managing director at Mojo bar.

"We have seen in other units that we have in cities with better transportation links, Manchester being the obvious example." he said "It facilitates trade because you have tourists coming in from the airport and the possible benefits of HS2 would have been increasing trade to the city centre. Anything that keeps us isolated is a negative."

Russell Bissett, co-founder of Northern Monk Brewery also expressed his disappointment at the cancellation.

"We're disappointed." he said "We have done a lot of work with the local community and developers in the area and were really excited for it to be coming so yeah really disappointed."

Elsewhere, despite stressing the importance of continued investment into the city's economy, the President of Leeds Chamber of Commerce, Mike Briffett is confident that the city can continue to go from strength to strength.

“Leeds is well recognised as an ‘engine’ within the national economy, flourishing as a professional and financial services hub, but also manufacturing and technology, with an increasing number of start-ups choosing to base themselves here." he said "Boasting an already bullish recovery from the pandemic, investing in Leeds is delivering significant growth opportunities for many across the private sector and ultimately contributing to regional prosperity.

"Whilst today’s decision is immensely frustrating given all the hard work and collaboration which has gone on across the public and private sector, the city will continue on its growth trajectory.”

Despite the scrapping of the local HS2 link, government have pledged £200m towards delivering a mass transit plan in Leeds, a plan which would see the city finally receive a tramline.

But Martin from Mojo bar followed West Yorkshire's Mayor, Tracy Brabin, in questioning the likelihood of such a scheme coming to fruition.

"It feels like they have been talking about trams in Leeds since they took trams out of Leeds." he said "My concern about the 'SuperTram' is I don't see how it's going to be a massive benefit unless its introduced in such a way that it is supplementary to the existing infrastructure. So yeah I'm sceptical to say the least."

While Mike Briffett from the city's Chamber of Commerce has demanded that we see immediate action on any rumoured alternatives to the HS2.

“If alternatives are to be “suggested” then we must see rapid progress." he said "We simply cannot keep going through this process again only for the rug to be pulled out in another ten years, resulting once again in us going back to square one

"That is not how to plan infrastructure, and that is not how you level up the North."

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