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Government announces plans for group to help invest in Toton HS2 area

The Government has recently announced the formation of a new development group aimed at obtaining more investment and creating more jobs in the surrounding area of the proposed HS2 hub in Toton. Jobs, infrastructure and housing are still expected to be delivered into the area before the new line connecting the East Midlands to London.

Taking the form of a Development Corporation backed by the Government, the group will take control over urban development outside of traditional town and country-planning systems, and has been described as a sign of commitment to the region by Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond.

Details are scarce for the time being, with no official name revealed for the group, but Maria Machancoses, director of Midlands Connect has welcomed the news, stating:

“Together with East Midlands Councils, the Midlands Engine and other partners in the East Midlands, we have been making the case for the last year about the transformational potential of Toton, an opportunity that also includes the ambitious growth plans of East Midlands Airport and the East Midlands Gateway.

“We have been clear that jobs, housing and infrastructure to connect Toton to Nottingham, Derby, Leicester and East Midlands Airport can all be delivered in the 2020s, well before HS2 services arrive.”

Whilst this news doesn’t speed up the projected delivery of the HS2 line, with trains not expected to be running until the close of 2033, work is still on course to begin on both the line and hub in 2024. Whilst we don’t currently have any further information as to the specifics of the HS2 plans, this will be probably one of the largest infrastructure projects we have seen in this area for a generation and will make an impact on the area for generations to come.

With that in mind, the big question from our perspective is how will this impact property prices? It might seem easy to dismiss any predictions; ‘it’s fifteen years off’, ‘it’s too far in the future to predict’, and ‘it may not get built’. Will we really become a commuter belt for London? Realistically, it’s likely that improved connectivity to our area and more employment created by the new business parks will put our area on the map, and potentially increase property values.

Moreover, the HS2 have suggested there will be initiatives to train and employ the local workforce to help construct the line and the hub, which is certainly positive. Conversely, there will inevitably be an influx of skilled workers moving into our area who will need housing, and this could increase rental and sale prices.

Still, this latest news suggests that there is a focus on making sure that the whole of the East Midlands benefits from the changes and opportunities that HS2 will bring to the area.

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