Region's businesses assess economic impact of HS2 decision

Video report by Katie Oscroft.

Businesses across our region have spent the day assessing the economic impact of the scaled back rail plans which include the eastern leg of HS2 between Birmingham and Leeds being cancelled.

The Northern Powerhouse Rail, the proposed high speed rail line between Leeds and Manchester, will also be downgraded.

It will now be a combination of new track and upgrades for existing lines.

The eastern leg of HS2 has been scrapped

One company in Sheffield thinks yesterday's announcements will put investors off coming to the city.

WANdisco develops software and the man who runs it was lured to the city by the promise of improved connectivity in the North.

Chief Executive Dave Richards said: "I think we have already attracted other businesses to come to the city, other software companies who maybe thought: can we really do a software company outside of London? Which of course is nonsense, of course you can.

"But HS2, I think, would have opened up infrastructure that would have brought many, many more US companies to the UK and specifically to the north of England."

Credit: Department of Transport

The company has an academy in the city drawing in talent for the future and its students feel let down by the government's plans.

Student Ellie Roberts said: "Places like the North end up getting missed just because they're far away from London, and most of the country is not in London. The rest of the country deserves the same accessibility, the same courses, the same ability to learn as London do.

"So yes, I think it's very disappointing that they decided not to go ahead with the funding."

But many welcomed the scrapping of plans to build rail lines through homes and countryside and believe the revised plans will speed up journey times and cause less long term disruption.

Penistone and Stocksbridge MP Miriam Cates said: "This is a solution that is a fraction of the cost, much more quickly deliverable and takes us more places we want to go. I don't understand how that isn't seen as a big win for Sheffield."

In East Yorkshire, HS2 has reaped rewards for one manufacturing business already.

Premier Modular make modular buildings for areas where the high speed rail link is being constructed.

Managing Director David Harris said: "It has to be seen as a disappointing to some degree in the long run. However, there's a lot of positives to come out of it.

"You know, we've we've got this £30 million of work, which supports a peak workforce here, but also I you say all the products within these units, there's a huge supply chain, all locally as well. So there's an awful lot of employment that has come from this."

Oliver Snowdon is one of those who believes he has HS2 to thank for keeping him in work in this area.

He said: "The more work that comes in, and the more varied work that comes in, the more that I learn personally as well as it gives opportunities. The more money comes in, the more expanding we can do, which means more opportunities for more apprentices"