Ben Bradley Column: Rail plan could provide great news for people in our area
It’s a big week for us in Nottinghamshire, with many more to come I hope, as we secure key investments.
But this week we find out the outcomes from the Integrated Rail Plan (we hope).
It’s been touted for a long time and there have been rumours for months, but we’re told we’ll finally get the facts.
In recent days there has been a lot of discussion about what the plan might look like, including some projections of potential routes and investment in Nottinghamshire. So what do we know?
Well it seems likely that a new High Speed Line will link Nottingham and Derby to Birmingham, cutting travel times from Nottingham to Birmingham from 72 minutes down to 27.
That’s a result in itself and would be roughly a £9 billion or £10bn investment in Notts and connecting Notts. A good start.
Clearly though, we’ve talked about much more than that over the years, and particularly about investment at Toton, just south of Mansfield in Broxtowe.
That’s key for our area because it’s the bit that will connect Mansfield into the jobs that grow from this investment.
The chance to hop on a line down to Toton and access thousands of new jobs really is a great opportunity for us, and that’s the kind of thing I’m hoping to see in the Integrated Rail Plan announcement.
If you can get from Mansfield to Toton, with Toton as a centre for investment and innovation, you also open up further onward routes from there. While I’ve been pushing for these things, I don’t know yet whether any of this will be included.
Media reports have talked about a ‘package of regional investment’ and about linking up towns and cities across the region, but with little detail. These Mansfield connections I describe would be great, but we’ll have to wait and see.
I know HS2 itself gets a mixed reaction from residents, in large part because of the cost.
It may be good news for many therefore when the Government is talking about trying to deliver the same outcomes in terms of economic growth and travel connections, but at a reduced price.
The key thing is the detail of that local package. Does Mansfield directly benefit?
If so then, along with the High Speed Line to Birmingham, that’s a pretty good deal, worth almost £10bn.
I’m looking forward to getting some certainty this week as it’s all announced.