Businesses divided over the announced HS2 route north of Birmingham

 
Rebecca Smith
Not everyone's happy with the HS2 update from government
Not everyone's happy with the HS2 update from government (Source: Getty)

The government's announcement of the planned route for Phase Two of HS2 has had a mixed response from businesses.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) welcomed the economic boost it said the news brought.

"For many business communities, especially in the cities of the Midlands and the North, the confirmation of HS2's route north of Birmingham will come as a real boost," said Dr Adam Marshall, director general of the BCC.

"Alongside a huge increase in rail capacity, HS2 will also deliver work for supply chain and construction companies around the UK, help cities and towns secure large-scale investments and build business confidence."

Read more: Mapped: This is the route HS2 will take north of Birmingham

As expected, some areas of the planned route have been more controversial than others and the government said seven changes remain in a consultative stage.

Mark Hayward, managing director of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), said: "We welcome the news that the government will pay compensation to homeowners impacted by the construction of Phase Two of HS2, however we remain concerned about the prospect of demolishing a brand new housing estate in Mexborough, South Yorkshire.

"The NAEA called on the government to "fundamentally rethink its plans to ensure that the properties in Mexborough are saved and by doing so preserving homes for years to come".

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME) was positive on the commitment to HS2, but said there's still a lack of "a wider integrated transport strategy".

Director of engineering Colin Brown said: "Commitment to HS2 provides the UK's engineering industry with the much-needed confidence to invest in future skills."

Read more: Winning HS2 bidder has to develop generation of UK engineering skills

But, he warned: "At the moment major infrastructure projects look as if they are being developed in isolation, when a more integrated approach would be cheaper, more efficient and better serve passengers and businesses. We seem to be ignoring the benefit that an extended HS2 brings to other key infrastructure projects like Crossrail and the proposed expanded airport at Heathrow."

And the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) voiced its concerns for rural firms. CLA president Ross Murray said: "HS2 Ltd has a track record of poor communication with the businesses affected by the railway. Today's announcement for the route of Phase 2 must mark a turning point; there are no excuses now for the usual fog of uncertainty."

Transport secretary Chris Grayling has said the route will be "a game-changer for the country".

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