A new bus lane along the A52 is the most likely option for connecting Derby to the planned HS2 station in Toton, regeneration chiefs say.
A tram route that followed the line of the dual carriageway had been considered – but members of the East Midlands HS2 Strategic Board now say the “relatively high cost” of developing the line “would appear to make it unviable”.
Instead, they say there is potential for a bus lane on the A52 with “rapid” bus services taking passengers directly to the proposed HS2 station in Toton.
A second route – either for buses or rail – is also being considered. It would run to the south of the A52 and link the Toton station with Long Eaton, and then on to Breaston, Borrowash, Spondon, Pride Park and Derby Station. It would be slower, but serve a much larger population catchment.
The East Midlands HS2 Growth Strategy has been launched today
David Ralph, one of the board members and chief executive of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, said both routes could be developed if enough funding could be secured.
But, when asked what was most likely to happen, he said: “I think initially it will be buses. Then there is a conversation about trying to see whether or not we can provide something like a Metro strategy, based around increased provision of trams or tram trains.
“Certainly as things stand, the cheapest version is the bus way. It would be a designated bus lane. That doesn’t mean the A52 would be down to one lane for cars and one lane for buses. We would look at ways of creating the bus lane. My guess is it would partly be around extra capacity and partly around using existing capacity.”
Mr Ralph said trams between Toton and Derby had not been ruled out – but that significant funding would need to be secured before such an option could be considered.
He said: “We don’t think, at the moment, that there are sufficient revenues on the A52 route to provide for a tram. There are other possibilities around how we might connect the [Nottingham] tram network to Derby, but those possibilities need further analysis.”
Mr Ralph was speaking at the launch of the East Midlands HS2 Growth Strategy, held at Nottingham City Council’s headquarters.
The document details the opportunities HS2 presents to drive the long term regional economy, equivalent to an additional 74,000 jobs and almost £4 billion of GVA (Gross Value Added) by 2043.
These opportunities include:
An East Midlands Hub Growth Zone featuring a new Innovation Campus at the Toton ‘hub’ station to accommodate high growth businesses and universities’ research, and with the capacity to create up to 10,000 high-skilled jobs and improved community facilities; which will be at the heart of a network of ‘garden village’ housing developments, including the nearby Stanton and Chetwynd Barracks sites.
A North Derbyshire Growth Zone around Chesterfield and Staveley would put the planned HS2 Staveley depot at the heart of a series of mixed use regeneration opportunities, improve links between Chesterfield station and the town, and create an attractive gateway to the Peak District National Park and to other visitor attractions.
Greater connectivity – improving road, bus, rail, tram, cycling, pedestrian links into the Toton station. Plans include three new junctions off the A52 so extra access roads into Toton can be built.
An artist’s impression of how the Toton station and surrounding area could look if enough funding is secured.
The strategy – which could cost up to £2 billion to deliver – has been submitted to the Government in the hope ministers will back the vision and provide funding.
Mr Ralph said: “We know there is a funding gap to pay for the infrastructure which is necessary to provide the connectivity. The Government will pay for some of that but not all of it. How do we pay for the rest? That’s an ongoing conversation. It’s not an easy conversation because no-one likes to pay, but if there is a benefit to the economy of £4bn a year, then why wouldn’t the Government provide significant levels of funding?”
Councillor Jon Collins, HS2 Strategic Board Chair and Leader of Nottingham City Council, said: “This strategy makes it clear that HS2 is not just about better transport, we intend to use it as a catalyst to create new business opportunities which will bring thousands of extra jobs to the region.
“It’s really important that we put the site around the new HS2 hub to good use and so it makes sense to develop an Innovation Campus, which plays to the strengths of emerging regional business sectors and local university research. It will benefit from all the enhanced transport links that we see as vital to making the most of the HS2 hub in the East Midlands.”
Councillor Simon Spencer, Derbyshire County Council cabinet member for highways and infrastructure; and vice-chair of the East Midlands HS2 Strategic Board, said: “HS2 will bring more jobs and business opportunities to Derbyshire, as well as massive potential for the county’s tourism industry.
“We believe the best deal for Derbyshire residents will be achieved by working with the Government, to maximise the economic benefits and minimise the adverse impacts of the scheme.”
Scott Knowles, chief executive at East Midlands Chamber, added: “HS2 is the single biggest transport infrastructure project in a generation, and represents a huge opportunity for businesses across the East Midlands and beyond. It has the potential to be truly transformational, much more than just a new railway.
“It will be a catalyst that drives regeneration along its entire route and leads to wider infrastructure investment, it will utilise the skills available in the world’s greatest cluster of rail-related businesses in Derby, and create opportunities to make sure those skills and new ones will pass to the next generation.
“It will bring together a raft of different partners as they work together to maximise the opportunities of HS2, both during construction and for decades afterwards.”
Source: Derby Telegraph