Harrogate won’t benefit from the HS2 high-speed rail network route going to Leeds, said Brian Dunsby of Harrogate Chamber of Trade and Commerce.
It was announced on Monday (January 28) he route of the second phase of the £32bn HS2 high-speed rail network will reach Leeds and Church Fenton.
Mr Dunsby said: “We welcome government’s plan to invest heavily in railways, however the electrification of the Leeds- Harrogate line is far more important than the HS2 and needs to be addressed soon.
“We need IEP (Inter-city express programme) linking Harrogate and York every 30 minutes and Harrogate and Leeds every 15 minutes, without that the HS2 will only benefit Leeds city centre.”
MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, Andrew Jones thinks that the district will benefit from the HS2, he said: “I welcome the Government’s announcement that the second phase of high speed rail is coming to Leeds.
“Here in Harrogate and Knaresborough, we will see the benefits of the economic growth that will flow from this investment.
He added: “We also need to see local transport plans and investment reflect the arrival of HS2.”
The Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, announced his initial preferences for the line of route for HS2 Phase Two on Monday.
The line will split after Birmingham with one route going onwards to Manchester and Manchester Airport with the second route going to Leeds and Church Fenton.
The HS2 will reach speeds of up to 225mph reducing the journey time from Leeds to Birmingham from one hour 58 minutes to 57 minutes and from Leeds to London from 2 hours 12 minutes to one hour and 22 minutes.
It will extend beyond the centre of Leeds, stopping several miles short of York at Church Fenton, where it will connect with the East Coast main line, slashing journey times between York and London to just one hour 23 minutes.
Mr Dunsby did welcome the news that the HS2 would continue on to Church Fenton, he said: “It would be good if they create a parkway station with ample parking between Leeds and York so that people wanting to travel to London can park and get on the HS2 there.”
On Monday Prime Minister David Cameron appealed for opponents to the scheme to “look at the bigger picture.”
The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) warned that scheme will “blight thousands of rural homes and businesses.”
The CLA president Harry Cotterell said: “The current compulsory purchase system treats landowners badly while helping to deliver profit to commercial operators.
“The Government must recognise the difficult position of rural landowners blighted by the HS2 route.”
Mr Cameron said: “You need to have a generous scheme of compensation and we will.
“We are competing in a global race, and if we don’t have the most modern and up-to-date infrastructure, we’ll fall behind.”
What do you think? Will the region benefit from the high-speed rail links to Leeds and Church Fenton? Let us know, tweet us @HarrogateHound or comment below.