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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: I agree that partnership is the way to do it right. Because of where we are in the east midlands, in terms of the phasing, we have got an opportunity to build those kinds of partnerships, if HS2 is willing to do that with us, in order that we can get the right connectivity for us into the city, but also the right solutions for the land around Toton, where the station is going to be.

We have already done—and are doing—some joint work already with Nottinghamshire county council and Broxtowe borough council to try to identify what it is that will need to be in place to ensure that Toton, as the east midlands hub station, works in the right way to produce that regeneration effect, and to produce that economic and housing benefit. We have started that work collectively, as three local authorities, and we think once we have done that work we would like to widen it out into a partnership approach—saying, “What is it that we need around that station location to mean that there will be the optimum regeneration effect from HS2?”

We have time to do that, but it does need the buy-in of Network Rail for the classic lines, East Midlands Trains, the current rail operators, and all the local authorities all to work together, to come up with that right vision and get it set early. I think there is an opportunity for us, because the dates for us are a little further away than for Sarah, but that is the right way to do it. That means that planning policy has to be appropriately aligned as well.

Again, in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire we are working very hard on that. We already have a joint planning board, which meets to make sure that our planning policies are aligned and can support schemes such as this, with regional significance, in a way that enables all of our planning policies across the different local authorities to move towards the same end; but we will need HS2 and this proposal to support that too.