- 2639 individual responses by email and letter (over 2000 from QPR fans)
- 1200 comments at workshops and drop-in sessions
- 28000 web views from 6000 visitors, generating 200 comments
See borough responses: 1) Hammersmith & Fulham 2) Ealing 3) Brent


Financial Times: "High rise projects struggle to win affection of UK public"

"The economic imperative to build housing higher in the capital divides opinion"

Link to web site

"Building upwards has been regarded as the answer to the UK's housing problems before, yet the high-rise estates of the 1950s and 1960s quickly turned into symbols of poor planning, inequality and urban blight. But even as Britain grapples with the legacy of those experiments, high-rise living is back in vogue — this time marketed towards a very different demographic.

"Once again, however, it is attracting criticism. Glass-encased towers are only for the rich, say their opponents; they largely lie empty — walk past them at night and they are mostly dark — because they are viewed as investments rather than places to live; and they clash with their surroundings and cast them in shadow. All this, critics declare, fails to deal with the needs of Londoners who do not enjoy large pay packets, drives up prices and forces people further out of the centre.

"Yet the boom continues, with scores more high-rise buildings planned. Is this merely greed, with developers thinking only of rich, and often foreign, buyers, or can high-rise living be part of the solution to the capital's housing crisis?"


Financial Times: "Alstom claims tilting train can solve HS2’s speed conundrum"

Link to web site

"The builder of France’s TGV trains is hoping to persuade officials planning the UK’s high-speed HS2 line that it can resolve one of their biggest conundrums: that on some of the lines new trains may run more slowly than existing rolling stock.

"Alstom, one of the world’s biggest train makers, has been telling engineers it could offer a train capable of running very fast on the dedicated high-speed line that could also tilt on corners on existing routes.

"Without tilting capability any new train would likely be slower over some sections of the existing network, such as the route from Preston to Glasgow, where Alstom’s tilting Pendolinos currently operate. However, HS2's planners have long doubted that a train would be able to fulfil both functions.

"The discussions have been taking place at a time when HS2, a government-owned company, is considering a change to its rolling-stock strategy. It had looked set to place an initial order for trains capable of running only on the new high-speed line and for another group designed to run on both the new line and on the UK’s existing “classic” network.

"It now looks set to order only trains compatible with the existing network at first, before ordering high-speed-only trains when more of the high-speed network is open. Transport ministers will decide shortly which strategy to pursue."


The Guardian: "A world without work is coming – it could be utopia or it could be hell"

Link to web site

"Most of us have wondered what we might do if we didn’t need to work – if we woke up one morning to discover we had won the lottery, say. We entertain ourselves with visions of multiple homes, trips around the world or the players we would sign after buying Arsenal. For many of us, the most tantalising aspect of such visions is the freedom it would bring: to do what one wants, when one wants and how one wants.

"But imagine how that vision might change if such freedom were extended to everyone. Some day, probably not in our lifetimes but perhaps not long after, machines will be able to do most of the tasks that people can. At that point, a truly workless world should be possible. If everyone, not just the rich, had robots at their beck and call, then such powerful technology would free them from the need to submit to the realities of the market to put food on the table.

"Of course, we then have to figure out what to do not only with ourselves but with one another. Just as a lottery cheque does not free the winner from the shackles of the human condition, all-purpose machine intelligence will not magically allow us all to get along. And what is especially tricky about a world without work is that we must begin building the social institutions to survive it long before the technological obsolescence of human workers actually arrives."


PR people work Sundays: "HS2 Chairman, David Higgins' statement regarding HS2 CEO, Simon Kirby, leaving to join Rolls Royce"

"Chief Operating Officer, the chairman of HS2, David Higgins, said:
"I am delighted for both Simon and Rolls Royce that he has been appointed to this position. Whilst naturally we will miss his experience and leadership, I also recognise that he is joining a truly great, global company in an industry in which he has previously worked.

In his two and half years with the company, Simon has used his vast experience to recruit and shape a world class team which over the coming years and decades will turn HS2 into a reality that will be of lasting benefit to this country.
That team will continue that process as we start and complete the process of finding Simon's successor.

I am also delighted to be able to announce today the appointment of Mel Ewel, formerly Chief Executive of Amey, as a Non Executive Director. His great experience in the construction industry speaks for itself, as does the huge respect in which he is held. As such he will be a great asset to the Board's deliberations as we move to the point of construction.
Simon Kirby said:
"HS2 is not just a highly ambitious project, but also one which will leave a lasting legacy for Britain. It has been, therefore, a huge honour to have been its Chief Executive and to have been involved in creating a leadership team made up of the best talents from this country and elsewhere. I have absolute confidence in their ability to deliver the project and, in doing so, to help transform the way we do things in this country."


The Guardian: "Paris divided: two-mile highway by Seine goes car-free for six months"

Link to web site

"... The drone from traffic on the parallel Quai des Celestins, higher up the river bank, suggests traffic there is moving along at a respectable pace – confounding those doomsayers who suggested the controversial scheme to pedestrianise two miles of city centre highway would bring neighbouring roads to a standstill.

"While this section of the Seine closes every summer to host the Paris Plages – in which temporary artificial beaches are created along the right bank of the river – this time the expressway has not been reopened.

"Instead Paris's prefect of police – the state representative – this week approved the closure of the riverside route for a six-month trial. Socialist-run city hall says it intends to keep the highway closed to vehicles for good."


Construction Enquirer: "Galliford Try kicks-off London regen zone with £175m project"

"Galliford Try is understood to have secured the first major scheme at London’s vast Old Oak Common regeneration zone."

Link to web site

"Development partners Genesis Housing Association and Queens Park Rangers Football Club plan to build 605 new homes on part of the vast new regeneration site in a development to be known as Oaklands.

"London's Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation approved the £175m mixed-use scheme last month.

"Galliford Try's Partnership arm is expected to start work at the beginning of 2017. Several existing buildings will be demolished to make way for three major blocks rising in height from around 10 to 26 floors."


Evening Standard: "White City: how Soho House, the BBC and the London creatives are helping W12 get its mojo back"

"Westfield is expanding, the BBC building is being transformed, and Soho House is moving in — W12 is staking its claim as London’s latest hotspot. Nick Curtis on why the future looks best out west"

Link to web site

"From the top of BBC TV Centre's East Tower in White City — the building where Blue Peter and Play School were made — you can see the future of London. The buildings below, once a monocultural fortress for Auntie Beeb, will soon become a mini-metropolis of 950 apartments, a new club and 50-room hotel from Soho House (complete with rooftop pool), as well as three refurbished TV studios and offices for BBC Worldwide and 300,000 [sic] other 'creatives'.

Further north are the modern offices of BBC Digital, and beyond them Old Oak Common, itself set to become a mini-city once Crossrail arrives. The world's largest 'co-living' space, The Collective, opened there in May, offering 551 minimal, serviced living spaces around shared communal areas as an alternative to traditional rental models.

On the other side of Wood Lane, the mind-bogglingly vast, 25-acre, £3 billion new campus where Imperial College plans to 'invent the future through science and engineering and medicine' — as Professor David Gann, Vice President (Innovation) puts it — stretches north beyond the A40. To the east, the new phase of Westfield shopping centre — already one of the top five tourist destinations in London, with 28 million visitors a year — is under construction, and a site occupied by M&S warehouses is to become 1,480 new homes by developer St James."

[That's enough gushing. Ed.]


The Observer: "The death of neoliberalism and the crisis in western politics"

"In the early 1980s the author was one of the first to herald the emerging dominance of neoliberalism in the west. Here he argues that this doctrine is now faltering. But what happens next?"

Link to web site

"The western financial crisis of 2007-8 was the worst since 1931, yet its immediate repercussions were surprisingly modest. The crisis challenged the foundation stones of the long-dominant neoliberal ideology but it seemed to emerge largely unscathed. The banks were bailed out; hardly any bankers on either side of the Atlantic were prosecuted for their crimes; and the price of their behaviour was duly paid by the taxpayer.

"Subsequent economic policy, especially in the Anglo-Saxon world, has relied overwhelmingly on monetary policy, especially quantitative easing. It has failed. The western economy has stagnated and is now approaching its lost decade, with no end in sight.

"After almost nine years, we are finally beginning to reap the political whirlwind of the financial crisis. But how did neoliberalism manage to survive virtually unscathed for so long? Although it failed the test of the real world, bequeathing the worst economic disaster for seven decades, politically and intellectually it remained the only show in town. Parties of the right, centre and left ... all bought into its philosophy."


The Guardian: "A new New York? Manhattan's oldest neighbourhood goes car-free, kind of …"

"Cars restricted to 5mph over 60 blocks of Financial District at weekend, as transport department runs Shared Streets event inspired by Bogotá and Paris"

Link to web site

"A shadow is cast long upon New York by the ghost of Robert Moses, the titan 'master builder' of 20th century whose almost unrivalled power to chart his vision of urban renewal fostered the car-dominant and public transport-starved metropolis that is, for better or worse, one of Gotham’s most enduring legacies.

"But pedestrianism among advocates and urban planners in the new, young century has been on the ascent in global cities far and wide, with many pushing for more restrictions on cars in the interests of bipeds and cyclists.

"That was part of thinking behind the Shared Streets initiative, a five-hour long event over the weekend. It saw the city demarcate some 60 blocks of Manhattan's oldest neighbourhood as part of an urban geographical experiment meant to alter the often-fractious dynamic between motorists and pedestrians that is the unwritten law of the concrete jungle."


Evening Standard: "First look inside Crossrail train ahead of launch"

Link to web site

"These are the first images of a new Elizabeth line train ahead of the launch of the £14 billion Crossrail project next May.

"It is the first in a fleet of 66 air-conditioned trains, which will operate on the Elizabeth line, linking Shenfield in Essex and Abbey Wood in south-east London to Heathrow and Reading, via Canary Wharf and Oxford Street.

"Transport for London commissioner Mike Brown was today driving the train on Bombardier Transportation's test track in Derby. He said the trains, to be introduced in stages, were 'a showcase for British design and manufacture'.

"The new ‘Class 345’ trains will enter service when the first section of the line, which will be known as Crossrail, opens next May between Liverpool Street and Shenfield in Essex. It is believed the final interiors may differ in design to the first look seen today."

Bombardier: Building Crossrail trains in Derby


GetWestLondon: "QPR dealt new ground blow as landowner says: 'We will never agree to a stadium'"

Link to web site

"Queens Park Rangers has been accused of misleading its fans with inaccurate statements over the future building of a new stadium.

"Cargiant, which owns land that the Championship side want to build its new ground on, has published a letter criticising the actions of the club. It says it wants to put the record straight over the proposals so supporters are aware of the actual situation.

"The decision taken this month to publish a letter, which was written in March to fans by Cargiant managing director Tony Mendes and Geoff Springer from development partner London & Regional Properties (L&R), was taken after QPR was given the go-ahead to build 605 new homes on the nearby Oaklands site with Genesis Housing Trust."


CNN: "London housing crisis extends to the water"

Link to web site

"When it comes to the unwanted title of world's most expensive city for housing, London vies with Monaco and Hong Kong.

"The average house price in the English capital is now nearly £600,000 ($787,000), and a study from the charity Shelter found just 43 properties affordable to people on an average income. Several of these properties were houseboats.

"Life on London's 100-mile network of canals, or 42-mile stretch of the River Thames, has become a popular option for beleaguered citizens, and such homes can cost as little as £20,000 ($26,500). But as more people swap apartments for houseboats, the popular, romantic vision is giving way to a harsh reality."


Cargiant: Old Oak Park consultation, July 2016

Link to Evening Standard

Evening Standard: "QPR housing development victory raises hope for new stadium" (Oh no it doesn't)

Link to web site

"Queens Park Rangers were last night given the green light to build 605 new homes in west London.

"The Championship football club hopes the £175 million development project for Old Oak Common is the first step towards building a new stadium on the site.

"The Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation — set up to lead the regeneration of Old Oak — gave the club and its development partner Genesis Housing Association the go-ahead for “Oaklands” at a City Hall meeting."


[Reposted] Thu 21 and Sat 23 April 2016: Aurora Developments: North Kensington / South Harlesden Gate: 25-storey residential tower

"PSP-FARMAN Holding [ultimate owner of Guernsey-based Aurora Developments Ltd.] was founded in 1997 due to the merger of two investment and building structures:
  • PSP, one of the first Russian commercial construction companies, operating since 1987
  • FARMAN ENGINIRING Europian company, operating in the Russian market since 1991.
"Today, PSP-FARMAN Holding is a multifunctional construction organization with well-organized structure of subdivisions, which applies the most advanced forms of management and production at all stages of project implementation:
  • Turning ideas into business projects, accomplishing prior calculations and obtaining necessary approvals.
  • Negotiating with financial institutions in order to attract funding.
  • Provision of a full range of design works with own Design Department, passing the state examination and issuance of documentation.
  • Performing a package of design work applying to the objects of historical and cultural heritage.
  • Highly accurate 3D laser scanning of buildings.
  • Serving as a general contractor of construction, installation and finishing works with own production capacity.
  • Restoration works.
  • Serving as a technical customer.
  • Advanced engineering equipment and finishing materials purchase from around the world, delivery and temporary storage.
  • Own Aluminum Structures Department.
  • Own production of wooden, plastic and artificial stone interior elements.
  • Managing the whole process of project implementation with BEXEL (5D) software which lets consolidate and monitor the work of all services and be transparent to the customers.
"PSP-FARMAN Holding Group is a team of experienced specialists from Russia, Serbia, Belgium, Italy, Germany and Israel.

"The total number of completed projects of the Holding is more than 200 objects including banks, office, public and residential buildings, commercial and industrial centres, sports centres and transport infrastructure, that occupies a total area of over 1.5 million square meters.

"PSP-FARMAN Holding is among the major real estate developer of Moscow and Russia. There are Holding’s offices in Moscow, Kiev, Belgrade, Brussels, Geneva and Trieste."
Presidents' message
"PSP-FARMAN Holding includes several Russian and European enterprises with their unique knowledge, experience and reputations.

"We have made up our minds to become a leader in construction operations in the real estate market since our first day, and we have been proving our leadership for 20 years now. Having created flexible and universal infrastructure in order to control and optimize all stages of our business process, we are eager to face challenging projects, working out the most creative ways to realize them.

"High professionalism and responsibility of our staff, absolute transparency in relations with our partners and unconditional fulfillment of all our obligations allow us to construct office and industry buildings for internationally famous companies; hotels and shopping centers operated by leading chains; modern sport facilities certified by international associations and many other projects.

"We are especially proud of the fact that we have long-term relationships on a friendly basis with the majority of our clients and partners.

"Nowadays, PSP-FARMAN is a company that is able to meet the most difficult and challenging tasks."

The densities of the two sites are: 
  • 513 units per hectare on the south site
  • 462 units per hectare on the north.
There are 183 units in total.

(The top range figure in the London Plan for ‘central’ areas is 405 units per hectare and 600 in ‘exceptional' cases.)

This is the scoping document of the main, southern site:


Reuters: "Serb tycoon jailed for five years for aiding tax evasion"

Link to web site

"One of the Balkans' richest men was sentenced to five years in prison for aiding tax evasion in a landmark trial the Serbian government said would shed more light on links between businessmen and politicians dating from the 1990s.

"Miroslav Miskovic, who created an insurance, retail and real estate empire during the collapse of Yugoslavia and Serbia's subsequent emergence from international isolation, was arrested in 2012 on charges of fraud and tax evasion.

"... His Delta Holding company employs more than 4,000 people and in 2015 had a turnover of 53 billion dinars (334.84 million pound)."

[Reposted] Aurora Developments Limited [Guernsey company 58085, listed for strike-off in 2015 under Companies (Guernsey) Law 2008 Section 234/235]: Proposals for South Harlesden Gate, Scrubs Lane, helped by Cascade Communications

"Aurora Developments Ltd. [PO Box 635, Ground Floor, St Martins House, Le Bordage, St Peter Port, Guernsey, GY1 3DS] are bringing forward proposals to develop land located on Scrubs Lane inside the eastern boundary of the Old Oak and Park Royal development opportunity area, adjacent to Saint Mary's Catholic cemetery.

"The proposals, which we have named North Kensington Gate comprise two sites, and will be some of the earliest to come forward in the new opportunity area.

"We are excited [sic] to be bringing forward proposals for these sites and are aware of the general level of interest surrounding development in the Old Oak Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) area. We want to introduce the project team and to present our proposals for the two sites [at 93-97A, 99-101 Scrubs Lane and 115-129A Scrubs Lane].

"We are working with OPDC to ensure that our plans for North Kensington Gate works within the OPDC's Local Plan framework and guidelines for the wider Old Oak and Park Royal area and helps to deliver the Mayor's vision for 25,500 new homes and 65,000 new jobs.

"During the pre-application process, our development team have met regularly with planning and design officers at the OPDC in order to help design a scheme for the sites which meets their aspirations to deliver the highest quality architecture in the opportunity area. We have now developed our plans to a stage at which we feel confident in presenting them to key stakeholders in advance of our wider public consultation. In order to arrange a meeting with the team, please contact Alex at Cascade Communications, who is assisting us with our stakeholder and community engagement, on 020 7871 3565 or by email consultation@cascadepr.co.uk.

Nebojsa Crnobrnja (Aurora Developments Ltd.)

North Kensington Gate North, 93-97A and 99-101 Scrubs Lane, London, NW10
Delta Holding (‘the Applicant’) intends to submit a full application for the redevelopment of 93-97A and 99- 101 Scrubs Lane (the ‘site’) to provide a new residential-led development. We write to request a Screening Opinion on behalf of the Applicant in accordance with Regulation 5(1) of the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2011 (as amended 2015) (the ’EIA Regulations’).

It is our view that the proposed development does not constitute a statutory EIA development. This is due to the size and scale of development when compared to the guidance EIA thresholds set out by the EIA regulations. To support this conclusion, and in accordance with Regulation 5(2) we enclose:

  • A plan sufficient to identify the site (attached);
  • A description of the existing site and its setting (see part a); and
  • A brief description of the nature and purpose of the development (see part b) and of its possible effects on the environment (see part d).

North Kensington Gate South, 115-129A Scrubs Lane, London, NW10

"Amec Foster Wheeler Environment & Infrastructure UK Limited (Amec Foster Wheeler) and Quod have been commissioned by Aurora Developments Limited to produce a Scoping Report for a proposed development at 115-129A Scrubs Lane, located within the Old Oak Common Opportunity Area (OOCOA), London, NW10 6QU. The Aurora Property Group wishes to construct a group of residential led mixed-use buildings of the highest quality and design which would act as a gateway to the new Opportunity Area. It is intended that the proposed development would provide an early and significant contribution to the 24,000 new homes which are anticipated within the OOCOA over the next 20 years and, specifically, the 8,600 new homes expected before 2026. The development can be delivered without the need for major infrastructure and, therefore, it can help to kick-start the investment in the OOCOA and provide early contributions towards key infrastructure and the specific need for affordable housing.

"This report has been produced to meet with the requirements of Regulation 13 of the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2011 (as amended 2015), which allows an applicant to request a scoping opinion from the Regulatory Authority/ies (in this case the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) with respect to the environmental information that needs to be provided within an Environmental Statement (ES).

"This report provides locational and design information on the proposed development, presents a summary of baseline environmental information that has been gathered to date, for the proposed development area and the wider surrounding area and allows consideration of the likely significant environmental effects of the proposed development. The report goes on to propose which environmental topics should be assessed within any future ES and which environmental topics it is considered can be scoped out from any future assessment."

Bing Maps

Evening Standard: "Old Oak Common: £10 billion plan for ‘Canary Wharf of West’ to be reviewed by City Hall"

Link to web site

"A review of the £10 billion redevelopment of 'the Canary Wharf of the West' has been ordered amid concerns that it could fall short on delivering affordable housing for the capital.

"Sadiq Khan has appointed a senior 'director level' official at the Greater London Authority to head a two-month evaluation of the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation.

"The corporation was created last year by previous mayor Boris Johnson to oversee the transformation of the sprawling railway lands and industrial estates at Old Oak Common."


The Guardian: "Superblocks to the rescue: Barcelona’s plan to give streets back to residents"

"The Catalan capital's radical new strategy will restrict traffic to a number of big roads, drastically reducing pollution and turning secondary streets into 'citizen spaces' for culture, leisure and the community"

Link to web site

"In the latest attempt from a big city to move away from car hegemony, Barcelona has ambitious plans. Currently faced with excessive pollution and noise levels, the city has come up with a new mobility plan to reduce traffic by 21%. And it comes with something extra: freeing up nearly 60% of streets currently used by cars to turn them into so-called 'citizen spaces'.

"The plan is based around the idea of superilles (superblocks) – mini neighbourhoods around which traffic will flow, and in which spaces will be repurposed to 'fill our city with life', as its tagline says.

This plan will start in the famous gridded neighbourhood of Eixample. That revolutionary design, engineered by Ildefons Cerdà in the late 19th century, had at its core the idea that the city should breathe and – for both ideological and public health reasons – planned for the population to be spread out equally, as well as providing green spaces within each block.

"Reality and urban development have, however, got the best of it, and as the grid lines became choked with cars, the city’s pollution and noise levels have skyrocketed. What was once a design to make Barcelona healthier, now has to be dramatically rethought for the same reasons."


Secretary of State Patrick McLoughlin on HS2

Albert Room, Leeds Town Hall
Speech to launch ITC’s new report ‘High speed rail and connected cities - accessible places for growing economies.’

High speed rail and
connected cities

"I’m delighted to be here this morning, and to be joined by my PPS Stuart Andrew MP, a local MP who is well in touch with what is happening here in Leeds.

I’m delighted to be here today for the launch of the ITC report this morning and I’m grateful to Matthew, John and everyone at the ITC who helped put it together."
Cities and HS2
"There is no doubt in my mind that major cities like Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield – now I’ve got to be careful here because I don’t want to miss anyone out – Liverpool, Newcastle are, without any doubt, where a lot of our country’s wealth is generated.

Where we see inward investment directed.

And we want to see most jobs created.

So it’s no surprise that Britain’s journey over the past six years, from recession to recovery, has been driven by our city regions.

Yet compared with the majority of major cities on the continent, ours have been suffering from a distinct disadvantage.

While we continue to rely on an overcrowded Victorian railway network, western Europe worked out a long time ago that in our modern world the best way of carrying large numbers of passengers between cities – quickly, efficiently, comfortably and reliably – is high speed rail.

But although we’re late joining the high speed club, we do have one very important advantage: we can learn from the experience of others.

From the design, construction and operation of their high speed railways, but also from the cities which host high speed stations, and their success in stimulating economic growth, so we can make HS2 the very best high speed railway in the world."
Commitment to HS2
"I know there have been various reports in the papers, about; whether HS2 is going ahead, whether it is going to Leeds and going to Manchester?

I can tell you today that it is going to Leeds and it is going to Manchester. Because we are totally committed to the whole of the high speed network.

Of course it’s controversial. It’s controversial in certain areas, which will have a train line going through where they wouldn’t have had one before, perhaps with no station so they feel they’re not going to get any direct advantage.

I understand that, and I don’t dismiss these concerns.

But it is worth remembering, when the very first railway between London and Birmingham was put before parliament it was defeated in the House of Commons, because the canals were considered perfectly adequate.

As has been said earlier on – and it’s important to remember this – we’re not talking about a railway for next year, we’re talking about a railway for 20 years time.

We’ve got to get the planning, and we’ve got to get the investment right. These projects do take time to actually implement.

But I can tell you this: that if the government was considering planning a brand new motorway from the north to the south, it would also be incredibly controversial.

There is no major infrastructure project which is not controversial at the time of construction.

But there aren’t any major infrastructure projects that I can think of, that once they are there, that people turn round and say: “No, you shouldn’t have built it.”

So I’m not dispelling some of the problems that there are.

Of course we have to keep an eye on the costs. We’ve had to keep an eye on the costs on Crossrail, or as we now call it the Elizabeth line. And HS2 is Crossrail’s answer for the northern cities.

It’s about addressing the balance between transport infrastructure investment between London and the north.

There are those that think its unequal. Judith (Councillor Blake) might complain – in fact I’ve heard her complain! – that there is not enough investment in some of our cities.

I have some sympathy with that.

But I would point out that some of the improvements we’ve seen, for example at King’s Cross Station and St Pancras Station, actually benefit northern cities too.

These stations used to be places where you didn’t want to spend a minute longer than you needed.

Today both St Pancras and King’s Cross are destinations in their own right. And if you arrive half an hour early for your train, you really don’t mind."
Listening and continually improving
The fact that we are now just a year away from construction means that the report being launched today is well-timed.

Given the size of the project – the biggest infrastructure scheme in this country for generations – it’s critical that we continue to develop and hone our plans.

Indeed, the HS2 project has always been about listening to people’s views, and continually improving.

Since 2010, when we set out our plans for a new high speed railway HS2 has never stopped evolving. It’s included: the biggest public consultation in government history; a massive programme of engagement with local communities; and of course, rigorous examination as the Bill passes through all its parliamentary stages.

At every stage we have listened, learned, and adapted to make HS2 the very best it can be."
ITC - guiding principles
"And that process continues. That’s why we’re here today.

I’m pleased the report reinforces the message that HS2 will not just improve transport and not just speed up journeys – it will also improve capacity too.

I have to confess that being called HS2 can sometimes overshadow what it’s also about.

In 1992, 750 million people a year used our railways. Last year 1.7 billion people used our railways. Capacity on some of our networks is saturated.

When people call for more local services, they don’t seem to appreciate that once built, HS2 will give us that capacity.

But it is also a catalyst for revitalising and regenerating our cities.

I welcome the emphasis it puts on close engagement and collaboration, the importance of improving transport connectivity around HS2 stations, and the need to be responsive to change.

And I echo the advice that cities with HS2 stations need to show leadership, so each of them grasps the unprecedented opportunities that this extraordinary project offers.

These are the guiding principles of the ITC report.

And it’s good to know that many of them are already in evidence – particularly for Phase One of the scheme."
What we’re already doing
"We’ve seen Birmingham set out ambitious regeneration plans around Curzon Station and the Old Oak Common and Midlands Growth Strategies have now been completed.

Leeds, Manchester, East Midlands, Crewe, and Sheffield are also preparing for the construction of Phase Two.

Just as government has been engaging and listening, so have HS2 cities; working closely with local businesses, local authorities, and local people.

And where necessary adapting their programmes.

Here in Leeds, a station redesign has delivered a much more integrated and successful result.

We’ve seen blue chip companies for example choosing to move to HS2 cities.

While HSBC has relocated its retail banking headquarters from London to Birmingham, and cited HS2 as a significant factor in its decision.

For businesses, HS2 means they can access new markets, draw their employees from a much wider catchment area, and - perhaps for the first time - consider moving offices away from London.

The benefits of working in cities like Leeds are self-evident: more affordable housing; a higher standard of living; quick access to beautiful countryside – whether it be Yorkshire or Derbyshire!

In Doncaster and Birmingham, construction of our High Speed Rail training colleges has begun. Councils are saying that school leavers are already applying for places at the college.

A recent article in the Financial Times reported how hotels in Crewe are already seeing an upturn in business, and quotes Cheshire East council saying that the difference HS2 is making to the town already is 'tangible'.

So the economic benefits of HS2 are clear, even before a single track is laid."
European Lessons
"So it's heartening that many aspects of the report reflect work that is under way here in the UK, but it also provides fresh insight that I’m sure will be valuable to all our HS2 cities – particularly the detailed study of high speed on the Continent:

How Bordeaux launched a competition to find the best way to build 50,000 homes in the region;

How Utrecht collaborated and worked with residents;

And how different European cities have sought to attract a new generation of young people to support regeneration around stations.

I also know the report’s illuminating analysis of each city region here in the UK will be of real value.

Quite rightly it shows how each location faces distinct challenges.

But also how HS2 cities can benefit by working together and sharing knowledge."
"But most of all it reinforces the message, that when HS2 construction begins – and that is next year, actual construction by the way.

Sometimes people ask me when you will start work on HS2.

Every time I go and see HS2 Ltd in their office and I see for myself there is a vast amount of work going on, a vast amount of expertise that’s already being engaged, because a lot of the work is in the planning.

But construction will begin next year.

And we will be building something much bigger than a new railway. We’ll be investing in our economic prosperity for the next half century and more.

Now sometimes perhaps there’s a feeling that everything has to be done on a 30 year basis.

In that case the Jubilee line, when its BCR was 1, would never have been built.

The Limehouse Link, which had a BCR of 0.47, but has been absolutely essential for the regeneration of The City, would never have been built.

So sometimes BCRs are not the only thing we have to address when we’re looking at such investments.

We need to look at future capacities, for our northern cities, around the midlands, not just for the next 20 to 30 years but for the next 60, 70 or 100 years.

So I very much welcome this report today, and I very much welcome this conference, in helping move forward the debate.

You’ll read various things in the newspapers: some of them are accurate but some of them are completely inaccurate; most of the things I read are wholly inaccurate.

Of course there will always be pressure to look at costs, and to make sure we’re getting the best value for money – it would be insane not to do so.

But it would also be insane not to say ‘what is our transport system going to look like in 30, 40, 50 years time?’ and to make sure our great cities have those same opportunities that London has, and make sure that young people look to those cities to base their lives on, and not to move away from them.

Thank you very much indeed."

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