Sir John Peace sets out bold future for East Midlands at the Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner
“There are plenty of reasons for everyone here in the East Midlands to be feeling upbeat and positive about the future”.
This was the message from Sir John Peace, Midlands Engine Chairman, to some 200 business leaders at the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner, held at Colwick Hall (Thursday 21 March).
In his speech to attendees, Sir John set out how the ‘growth clusters’ around HS2 will provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to drive economic growth and social transformation across the Midlands.
Sir John highlighted the six Midlands sites set to benefit from HS2 plans, including Curzon Street in the centre of Birmingham; the Interchange in Solihull; the Toton site that sits between Nottingham and Derby; and sites in Stafford, Stoke and Chesterfield, all of which are set to become HS2 stations over the next decade. Each will support widespread regeneration.
Focusing on the East Midlands, Sir John reiterated the planned benefits arising from the Toton development: 74,000 jobs, 20,000 homes and a £4bn economic uplift. But the benefits, said Sir John, will spread far beyond the Toton site – including Chesterfield and the Peak District as HS2 opens up regeneration opportunities and creates new gateways across the region.
“We’re working with businesses, universities and East Midlands councils to create a gateway strategy for the East Midlands Hub at Toton” said Sir John. “Linking it with local services from Derby, Nottingham, Lincolnshire, Leicester and beyond. We’re proposing road upgrades across the region, boosting business access to economic clusters, international gateways, our ports and airports.
“So, this is not just about HS2 – the investment will happen with or without it.
“The plans are in place. The time is right and the potential return is clear”, said Sir John. “We were the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. Now we have the chance to be at the centre of this Infrastructure and Growth Revolution.”
Concluding his speech Sir John called on business leaders to sign up to Team Midlands, a new network created for Midlands organisations to join, to work together to encourage investment and innovation in the region.
You can sign up to ‘Team Midlands’ Here