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Birmingham is chosen to host HS2 design headquarters

Birmingham is chosen to host HS2 design headquarters

🕔21.Jul 2014

HS2 will be designed in and delivered from Birmingham, it was confirmed today.

The high speed rail company is to base its construction headquarters at Two Snowhill, the new office development in the Colmore Business District. The 100,00 square foot office will be alongside leading law firm  Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co which is also re-locating to the Snowhill development. 

The new HQ will open next year and is expected to house about 1,500 employees including engineers and designers responsible for laying out the HS2 track from Euston to Birmingham and designing stations.

Some of the staff will move up from London but many will be new roles filled locally.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin and HS2 Chairman David Higgins were meeting with Birmingham City Council Leader Sir Albert Bore today for the launch of the city’s Urban Regeneration Company and an announcement about the location of the HS2 Construction HQ.

Sir Albert said:  “Since the industrial revolution, Birmingham has been a national capital for engineering, so it is only natural that the HS2 construction HQ be based in Birmingham.”

The council is hoping the decision to base the HS2 construction team in Birmingham is the first part of a double success. The city is also bidding to host a national HS2 college which will train the engineers required to deliver the high speed rail project.

Birmingham, Derby, Doncaster and Manchester have been shortlisted by the Department for Business, Innovation and skills to host the college and a decision will be made soon.

Birmingham’s bid for the college, prepared by the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) puts forward four possible sites – Eastside Locks, Birmingham Science Park Aston, Riverside in Perry Barr and Jennens Road in Eastside.

Led by a private sector steering group, the bid has support from a network of almost 60 businesses involved in rail and construction.

The arrival of HS2 has lent a new sense of urgency to the regeneration of Eastside, with particular emphasis on land around Curzon Street.

Earlier this year the city council launched its Curzon Street Masterplan setting out proposals for the redevelopment by the Birmingham Curzon Urban Regeneration Company of 350 acres of Birmingham city centre around the site of the HS2 station.

The scheme includes shops, 350,000 sq m of offices, a hotel and 2,000 homes, as well as a Metro tram link between New Street and Curzon Street stations.

It will create 14,000 jobs, 600,000 square metres of new employment floorspace and 2,000 homes, contributing up to £1.3bn a year to the local economy.

GBSLEP is to invest £30 million to support the masterplan, it was confirmed today.

The establishment of the regeneration body represents a new approach to driving local economic growth, in what is a major transfer of power away from central government.

It will create a partnership between local and national bodies with the city council, GBSLEP, HS2 Ltd. and the Government all represented on the company’s board.

Transport Secretary Patrick McCloughlin said: “HS2 is a vital part of our long-term economic plan. By locating the new HS2 engineering HQ in Birmingham we are bringing skilled job opportunities into the area, spreading HS2’s benefits beyond those using the new rail line.

“It is great news that Birmingham city council has created a company specifically to focus on the regeneration opportunities created by HS2. It will bring new investment and work into the city, helping secure the future prosperity of the region and the country.”

HS2 chairman Sir David Higgins said: “The lasting impact of HS2 will be determined by how successfully local authorities and regions use it as a catalyst to transform and develop not just their economies, but also the look and feel of the areas it touches.

“The Birmingham Curzon Urban Regeneration Company will be hugely important both for Birmingham and the rest of the West Midlands, and also as an example to the rest of the cities along the route.”

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