England

East Midlands council rows 'threaten HS2 benefits'

Map showing the route of phases 1 & 2 of the proposed HS2 rail service
Image caption HS2 would cut journey times but whether it would repay the investment and disruption is controversial

The East Midlands may miss out on any high speed rail (HS2) benefit because of rows between councils, a summit has been warned.

The East Midlands Rail Summit took place after councils admitted the area risked missing out on a vital station.

Pete Waterman, of the HS2 Growth Task Force and chair of the summit, said the region was highly factionalised.

But some politicians said they had to act in the interests of the area they directly represented.

'Pain not gain'

HS2 is designed to slash north-south journey times but the East Midlands will have to wait until phase two, which has a completion date of 2030-2033.

The Growth Task Force has been set up with the aim of maximising the economic opportunities of HS2 to the regions but Mr Waterman said the East Midlands gave the worst presentation from any region.

"By working together they can tell the treasury of the benefits to the East Midlands and the treasury will listen but that's only as one voice," he said.

Stuart Young, executive director at East Midlands Councils, said: "We have struggled to present a consensus view on where the station should be."

It remains unclear whether the HS2 rail hub would be sited at Toton, in Nottinghamshire, or at Breaston, in Derbyshire.

Councillor Chris Corbett, leader of Erewash Borough Council, said: "We don't want it at Breaston, it's greenbelt [and] we see Toton as a much better site."

Conservative leader of Leicestershire County Council, Nick Rushton, who is an opponent of HS2, said a station in Derbyshire would be in his county's interests.

He said: "It would give rail connectivity from Leicester, Derby and Nottingham into a new super hub at Breaston."

He had said previously that HS2 "was all pain and no gain" for Leicestershire.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption While some areas are keen to welcome the line, many places are mounting a stiff opposition

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