Regeneration chiefs have been accused of favouring Nottingham over Derby with a strategy that considers how the cities could link up with the planned HS2 station at Toton.
It emerged on Tuesday that “rapid” bus services along the A52 was currently the most likely option for getting Derby passengers to HS2 trains.
A tram route that followed 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”.
However they said there was scope for Nottingham’s existing tram network to be extended to Toton.
An artist’s impression of how the Toton station and surrounding area could look if enough funding is secured.
A second route for linking Derby to Toton – either using 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 onto Breaston, Borrowash, Spondon, Pride Park and Derby Station.
A 10-minute train service connecting the Toton station with Nottingham and Derby railway stations has also been mooted.
However David Ralph, one of the board members and chief executive of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, told the Derby Telegraph the most likely investment in new infrastructure for Derby would, “initially”, be a designated bus lane on the A52 for “rapid” bus services. Other plans include three new junctions off the A52 to provide access roads into the Toton hub.
David Gibson, a member of the Light Rail Transit Association, lives in Allestree and has campaigned for Derby and Nottingham to be connected by tram via HS2.
He said the prospect of Derby – famed for its rail heritage – not getting a tram network was “totally disappointing”.
Mr Gibson said: “Obviously Derby hasn’t got as good a deal as Nottingham has. Nottingham went for a tram and got it. With Derby, it’s assumed there’s no money and they make no attempt to get it.
“We do urgently require a tram system within Derby itself to deal with present and future travel demands. Derby is growing rapidly, and the road system is already at breaking point.
“I would go for a line alongside the A52 to give a direct fast route to Derby, diverging away outside Spondon and going via the Celanese site, with a Park & Ride facility, to Raynesway, The Wyvern and Pride Park, which is largely the business centre of Derby now. It would go under the railway at the south of Derby Station, and via Castleward to Traffic Street.
David Gibson wants a tram network to link HS2 to areas across Derby
“I would then look to extend the tram line in phases to areas such as Allestree, Mickleover and Chellaston.”
Andrew Pritchard, from East Midlands Councils, which is co-ordinating the region’s work on HS2, said in response: “We haven’t finalised a view on whether the Derby link will be tram or buses, or even a combination of the two. Funding is a major issue but we’re ambitious and a solution will evolve over time.”
Ideas for connecting Toton with the rest of the East Midlands were included in a HS2 growth strategy for the region.
The East Midlands HS2 Growth Strategy has been officially launched
Complied by East Midlands Councils, the £2 billion strategy says there is scope to create up to 10,000 highly-skilled jobs by building a new “innovation campus” around the upcoming HS2 station in Toton.
They would be based in offices for high-growth businesses and laboratories building on universities’ research in areas such as bioscience, energy and medicine – while about 500 homes are also planned in a major redevelopment on the site.
Surrounding the site would be a chain of “garden villages” in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, including at Chetwynd Barracks once it has closed and in Stanton, near Ilkeston – each site providing hundreds of homes, community facilities and employment sites.
The strategy has been submitted to the Government in the hope it will receive the backing of ministers and unlock funding.
Source: Derby Telegraph