Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced in his Conservative Party Conference speech that his government was ending much of the planned High Speed Two (HS2) rail programme, with a commitment that the route will now only run between London Euston and Birmingham.
Instead, Sunak unveiled the Network North plan, which aims to redistribute £36bn previously earmarked for HS2 into a range of transport projects across the country. As part of this, the programme pledges to establish a development company separate from HS2 Ltd to deliver a pared back, six-platform station for high-speed trains to Birmingham.
The development corporation will also create a new “Euston Quarter”, offering up to 10,000 homes. According to the document, the new development company will “accelerate the project, significantly reduce and focus its scope, and leverage private sector investment in the process”.
Sunak has faced significant criticism for his decision to scrap the wider HS2 plans. Ahead of the announcement, West Midlands mayor Andy Street had urged the government to work with the private sector to find ways to finance the scheme.
National Infrastructure Commission chair Sir John Armitt said the decision was “deeply disappointing”.
He added: “While it is welcome that the money will be redirected into rail and other transport projects for the North and Midlands, it’s not yet clear how the collection of schemes announced today will address the gap left behind by HS2.”
To read the full Network North document, click here.