Eastleigh should become new home of Great British Railways, says town's MP

The railway line at Eastleigh, Hampshire

The MP for Eastleigh, Paul Holmes is calling on the government to make the town the new home of Great British Railways. 

Towns and cities across the country with strong links to the railways, are encouraged to enter a nationwide competition launched by the government.

The winning town or city will then become home to the new Great British Railways headquarters.

Paul Holmes said the town is in need of regeneration and becoming the new HQ would mean hundreds of new jobs for the area.

He also described how the need for levelling up, should also be recognised in areas of the south such as Eastleigh.

  • Paul Holmes, Eastleigh MP

The new Great British Railways HQ will be based outside of London and bring a number of high-skilled jobs to the winning location.

The government says that Local economies will be further boosted by a number of new regional headquarters across the country.

They will be 'putting decision making and investment at the heart of the communities who use those railways day-to-day.'

An aerial view of Eastleigh town centre

Paul Holmes said, "Eastleigh is a railway town.

"We were established in the 1930s, and Eastleigh has a unique railway heritage in the south.

"That's why I think that Great British Railways headquarters being in Eastleigh will bring benefits.

"We have motorways, we have a big railway station, and we have an airport, so it's the perfect location and that's why I'm pushing government minsters here to give us the headquarters.

He added, "Average earnings in Eastleigh are £630 below the national average.

"We have a town centre that needs regeneration, levelling up is not just for the north, it's for the south as well.

"Eastleigh faces many of the same challenges as those northern cities that the government has been talking about.

"It will bring jobs, it will bring investment and it will make Eastleigh an even better place to live."

Eastleigh's MP says the town would benefit from hundreds of new jobs

Applications will be measured against six criteria:

  • Alignment to Levelling Up objectives

  • Connected and easy to get to

  • Opportunities for Great British Railways

  • Railway heritage and links to the network

  • Value for money

  • Public support

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:  "Our railways have kept this country moving for almost two hundred years, but it's time to kickstart a new age that will shape our network for the next two hundred.

"I'm calling on people across the country to make the case for why the true home of the railways is on your doorstep." 

Leader of the Great British Railways Transition Team Andrew Haines said: "This is the chance for cities and towns across the UK to pitch to be a key part of an exciting chapter in the history of Britain's railway."

The best applications will be shortlisted by the GBR Transition Team in May, after which a public vote will help determine the winning location.

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