The East Midlands phase of the new HS2 development will be “essential to its success”, say directors of the project.
Sir Terry Morgan, chairman of HS2, has used his first engagement to reinforce support for Phase 2b of the project which will pass through the region.
He outlined its importance in the success of the UK’s biggest ever infrastructure scheme, which aims to develop a high speed connection between Birmingham, Toton in the East Midlands, Sheffield and Leeds.
He also revealed that Chesterfield will reap significant rewards once it is created.
It is hoped that Phase 2b will unlock economic potential, creating tens of thousands of additional jobs and opportunities to benefit millions of residents.
In a speech, Mr Morgan said: “Skills and the regeneration of communities will be the long-term legacy of this project and the economic benefits are likely to significantly outstrip current projections.
“As ex-chair of Crossrail, I can tell you that we’ve already seen a boost to the economy that is more than double what we first thought, before the first train has even left the platform.
“For HS2 to work for the whole of the UK, Phase 2b must continue to move forward.
“The line will connect some of the country’s most promising growth areas, with Toton, Sheffield, Leeds, Chesterfield and Newcastle all set to reap significant rewards.
“This prosperity will not be restricted to urban centres, it will also be felt by the communities in the surrounding towns and rural areas.”
Andrew Pritchard from HS2 East, East Midlands and Midlands Connect, added: “The eastern leg of Phase 2b is not expendable.
“Local and regional partners in the East Midlands, Yorkshire and beyond must band together to remind Government of the considerable value Phase 2b will bring to the UK economy.
“Over 60 per cent of Phase Two’s economic benefits come from the Eastern leg.
“Nobody can deny that better linking key regional centres will attract inward investment and create jobs.
“That’s something everyone wants.”