The Government is committed to delivering the part of HS2 which is set to pass through Nottinghamshire, according to the Prime Minister.
Political leaders from across the Midlands and the North wrote to the leaders of the four largest political parties seeking reassurances over the future of the project.
Now, Mrs May has said the Government remains committed to the Nottinghamshire leg of the route, which passes from near Birmingham to Leeds.
The leader of Nottinghamshire County Council called the Prime Minister’s reaffirment “very good news”, and said the line would create thousands of high-quality new jobs.
The open letter was written to the leaders of the Westminster parties after considerable speculation from public figures and in the media that the route was set to be reviewed by the Government over cost concerns.
Now, Theresa May has replied, saying: “I welcome your continued support for HS2, and recognise the extent to which the benefits of the scheme are already being felt.
“I would like to take this opportunity to assure you that the Government remains committed to delivering the whole of HS2 Phase 2 and will continue to work closely with you to ensure that the project meets your aspirations for growth and regeneration.”
January’s open letter to party leaders was signed by more than 40 business and civic leaders, including: Sir John Peace, chairman of Midlands Engine and Midlands Connect; Jon Collins, outgoing Labour leader of Nottingham City Council; Kay Cutts, Conservative leader of Nottinghamshire County Council; and Karen Smart, managing director of East Midlands Airport.
The letter was accompanied by a parliamentary reception, at which Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said a failure to deliver HS2 beyond Birmingham would be “a dereliction of our duties to improve the life chances of everyone in this country, an abandonment of our ambition for one of the most extraordinary engineering projects since the Victorian age and a huge betrayal of the people in the Midlands and the North”.
The plan is for HS2 to form a ‘Y’ shape, starting in London and then forking near Birmingham. The western arm of the Y will go to Manchester, while the Eastern arm will go through Nottinghamshire, stopping at Toton, on the way to Leeds and Sheffield. The two arms of the Y are collectively known as HS2 Phase 2b.
More consultations are planned in autumn this year on aspects of the Phase 2b route.
Councillor Kay Cutts, leader of Nottinghamshire County Council who represents Radcliffe-on-Trent for the Conservatives, said: “It’s very good news that the Prime Minister has reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to delivering the whole second phase of HS2 in recognition of the significant economic benefits it will bring to the Midlands.
“We have very ambitious plans for the Toton site which will create 10,000 high skilled jobs and over 5,000 high quality homes in a network of garden villages to boost our regional economy and improve the lives of future generations.
“Above all, our vision will put Nottinghamshire on the map by investing in the county as a great place to live, work and do business.”
Nottingham City Council’s corporate director for development and growth, Chris Henning, added: “HS2 will bring a wealth of opportunity to our city and wider region for jobs, growth, and so we’re pleased that the Government has given its full commitment to developing the whole line.
“The promise of HS2 lies in its ability to connect cities in the Midlands and North through much faster journey times and greater capacity – and to use this to trigger economic development.”