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Examination of Witnesses

Part of High Speed Rail (Preparation) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:00 pm on 9th July 2013.

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Jane Urquart: We in Nottingham support a high-speed network. One of the reasons is the need for greater connectivity between other cities as well as London. For us, it is about connectivity to Leeds, Birmingham, Sheffield and all those places enabled by a high-speed network that would be really significant. We have had conversations for some time with HS2 about station location. Although  for us in Nottingham a city centre station would perhaps have been an ideal solution in some ways, in many other ways a city centre station would not be ideal, for some of the reasons that Sarah has talked about. It is difficult and the impact would be great, so we are quite content that Toton provides a positive option for Nottingham.

Clearly the biggest issue to resolve for a Toton station is the connectivity into it. People will be aware that we are currently building tram lines in Nottingham, and the end of one of our tram lines is very close to the proposed Toton site. That is one thing that we will explore further with HS2. However a tram connection is not sufficient; we will need to explore much further the connectivity into the city centre and the use of classic-compatible trains to get high-speed rail right into Nottingham city centre. That will be a big issue for us, because we can see great advantages for being on the high-speed network.

Given the three cities that drive the east midlands economy—Nottingham, Derby and Leicester—having a station at Toton makes sense for all of them to have access. Clearly on a high-speed network, it would be unfeasible to have all three cities directly linked in, because you would soon lose the high-speed bit of the system. So Toton is a reasonable option, but connectivity needs a great deal more thought and active planning from HS2 to get it right.