Birmingham is to become the headquarters for construction of High Speed 2 (HS2), in a move expected to support wide-reaching local regeneration plans.
Visiting the city today, transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said the new HS2 Ltd site would help spread the benefits of the flagship project nationwide.
Some 1,500 staff will be housed at the new building, which is due to open in 2015.
Birmingham City Council leader Sir Albert Bore said the announcement was ‘only natural’ given the city’s historic link with engineering.
‘HS2 is an important step in rebalancing the country’s economy, supporting growth in the regions and encouraging more inward investment into the city.
‘It is essential that we have the power to make local decisions, and the Regeneration Company will allow us to realise the full potential and benefit of HS2 for this area,’ Bore said.
While final approval for the project has yet to be passed, the council has already formed a regeneration company to lead developments around the Curzon Street terminus.
McLoughlin said: ‘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,’ he said.
HS2 chairman, David Higgins added: ‘The lasting impact of HS2 will, in the end, 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, therefore, 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.
‘I acknowledge and applaud the work that has gone on to get this far and wish it every success in the future.’
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