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Splits over call for HS2
MINDS are yet to be made up as to whether the controversial £50 billion high speed rail project will be of any benefit to businesses in York.
The city’s business leaders have been airing their views after the director general of the Institute of Directors slammed the proposals as “a grand folly” and urged the Government to abandon the scheme.
A split has been seen in York with some favouring the HS2 project and others against, while a call as been made for more information on the controversial plans.
The scheme will see York connected directly to the line via a spur joining the London to Leeds route, with journey times between York and the capital expected to be cut from two hours to as little as 83 minutes.
Susie Cawood, head of the York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said rail links need addressing due to capacity issues, but more information was needed before HS2 was declared the answer.
She said: “The Chamber view is that it is something we need to have because of capacity issues, but businesses need more information to formulate opinions as to whether it will be beneficial to us.”
City of York Council leader Coun James Alexander said work was being done to ensure that if HS2 goes ahead, York will be placed to take full advantage, with hopes for a future international link.
He said: “Our focus is on ensuring any benefits of the HS2 programme reach the city, to support York to achieve both a nationally competitive and leading international city economy.”
Simon Walker, director general of the IOD, said businesses were not convinced by the economic case for HS2.
Nick Eggleton, founder of York Business Week, said: “The costs associated with the HS2 project are ridiculous, especially when people aren’t travelling for business any more. We have got email, Facetime, Google hangouts and Skype; video conferencing couldn’t be easier.”
Stephen McFarlane, head of Stakeholder Engagement at High Speed 2, will be in York on September 9 to speak at a meeting of the York Property Forum at the Royal Hotel in Station Road.
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