The Economic Cost of HS2 to Yorkshire

Much is made by the HS2 lobby of the supposed £200 million a year benefit to the Yorkshire economy in 2026 when HS2 Phase 2B might commence construction. But what of the economic costs to Yorkshire from the HS2 project?

WEALTH

An overnight loss of £2.689bn to the property based wealth of the West & South Yorkshire economy*. This is thirteen times the claimed economic benefit of HS2 and represents an 8% drop in the value of the private housing stock of Wakefield, Doncaster & Rotherham.

According to Savills the owned Housing Stock of Wakefield, Rotherham and Doncaster in 2015 is estimated to be cool £30.8 billion. Wakefield alone has 148,630 dwellings, with an average price of £169,000.  The population of the affected parliamentary constituencies of Hemsworth, Doncaster North, Rother Valley and Wentworth & Dearne amounts to a combined population of 384,868. The population of HS2 affected communities with 1,000 metres of the track totals 129,478 and can be broken down as the following:

Mexborough  15,244, Conisborough 14,333, Hemsworth 13,577, Aston 13,391, Bolsover 11,673, South Kirkby 11,198, Bramley 8,194, Wickersley 7,392, Brierley 7,267,Wales 7.069, Thurcroft 6,900, Crofton 5,896, Kinsley 4,372, Barlborough 3,261,Ryhill 2,894, Ravenfield 2,828,Sharlston 2,716, Havercroft 2,301,Harlington 2,297, Barburgh 1,924,Harthill 1,879, South Hiendley 1,817, Hickleton 274,Hooton Roberts 210, Hooton Pagnell 207, Ulley 172, Wragby 90

It can conservatively estimated that within this area some 40,000 residential properties lie within 500 metres of the track and will subject to substantial noise & construction blight. The value of the these properties is approximately £6.7bn and 25% devaluation equates to some £1.675bn. Combined to a 10% devaluation to the 60,000 properties amounts to £1.014bn. The combined total is £2.689bn* (Source: Trainline to Hell: Rushed, Harmful & Misleading- How HS2 has misled the Government over the New HS2 Route)

ECONOMIC ACTIVITY

Great premium is given to the supposed economic benefit to the Yorkshire economy from faster journey times to London, but little mention is made that in fact the new HS2 route will increase London travel times from Rotherham, Doncaster and Wakefield which all enjoy sub 2 hours Virgin Pendalino Fast rail service to London Kings Cross. The local impact within the 1Km and 5km zone from the route during the construction phase which will last 7 years from 2026 to 2033 will lead to traffic gridlock on the village B roads and vital A roads which will need to enlarged and diverted. This will add to the Commercial blight and loss of housing wealth within the communities. Evidence from phase 1 communities point to substantial distressed house sales to HS2 Limited by home owners which leaves HS2 Limited owning 30% of properties in key villages within 1km and rural depopulation. Businesses closed in phase 1 areas include public houses and village amenities such as local shops. In many of the areas along the route booming leisure, sport, tourism and heritage industries have opened up to begin to transform a once industrial and mining economy.

DIVERTED TRANSPORT & BUSINESS INVESTMENT

Much is made of the money that HS2 Limited will spend on infrastructure, jobs and transport within Yorkshire, but perhaps only 10% of the budget will spend on Yorkshire and most of the money will go to international linked consortia using nationally sourced teams across the UK. Already £2bn has been spent without a rail being laid and 90% of the HS2 jobs are based in London. Vital business investment in Yorkshire businesses and vital transpennine transport links have been diverted for a national project that may well be cancelled before it even reaches Yorkshire. Public opinion in Yorkshire favours HS3 East-West connectivity in preference to a London centric project.