Below is a letter from the Leaders of Birmingham and Nottingham City Councils to the Rt. Hon Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State for Transport.
The letter is about Midlands Connect - an initiative that will see LEPs and councils across both the East and West Midlands (in dialogue with Network Rail and the Highways Agency) working to identify what strategic rail and road transport interventions are required to become “HS2 Ready” and maximise the growth potential of the Midlands.
We write to bring to your attention the “Midlands Connect” initiative and to seek Government's active involvement and support in taking it forward.
The Midlands accounts for over £178 bilion per annum of the British economy.
We have huge ambitions for growth, with great strengths in the manufacturing and logistics industries. Our LEPs are set to deliver 500,000 jobs in the next 10 years which alongside our forecast 10% growth in population by 2020 represent unparalleled opportunities which must be seized and maximised.
Our ambitions are supported by the arrival of HS2. You are of course aware of our development proposals for the Curzon Masterplan and UK Central Masterplan, and the work to develop a comprehensive HS2 Growth Vision for the East Midlands, demonstrating vision and commitment in line with Lord Deighton's Growth Task Force Report. But we want to take this further.
As highlighted in David Higgins' 'HS2 Plus' report, we must also have effective plans in place to deliver an integrated transport network which facilitates better east-west connectivity and optimises the Midlands' local rail and road networks in preparation for, and post, HS2.
With this in mind LEPs and councils across the Midlands have decided to work collectively together through “Midlands Connect”, an initiative aimed at (in dialogue with Network Rail and the Highways Agency) identifying what strategic rail and road transport interventions are required to become “HS2 Ready” and maximise the growth potential of the Midlands. Details are contained in the enclosed brochure.
We have recently heard Government's plans for delivering “One North”. We await to hear about similar plans and ambition for the Midlands and would therefore welcome the acknowledgment of Midlands Connect as the right vehicle for achieving this.
We will be soon meeting with Claire Perry MP, Parliamentary under Secretary of State for Transport to discuss the Department's active involvement in the programme but would also welcome the opportunity to discuss with you how Government can support and champion Midlands Connect as you take the next stages of the Higgins review forward.
Sir Albert Bore – Leader of Birmingham City Council
Jon Collins – Leader of Nottingham City Council