Mark Reynolds, Mace

HS2 needs a holistic approach to delivery - and no complacency

Lord Deighton and the taskforce team have identified the key HS2 priorities, making strong recommendations and I would like to congratulate them on their efforts.

Deighton has rightly drawn a parallel with the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games; the UK can deliver great projects and infrastructure when we take a strategic and holistic approach. But we can’t be complacent. There are significant challenges we must overcome in order to deliver the new rail line and the benefits it will bring, but if we get this right, it will benefit the wider industry and the country’s economic future.

"For too many schemes in the past  financial gains have primarily benefitted private developers. The key for HS2 is to harness more benefit for the public sector." Mark Reynolds

HS2 is more than just a train line and simply just getting people between cities; it is a catalyst for regeneration. This is an area that needs proper consideration and focus in order to maximise its benefits.

We’re seeing this take place along the route of HS1 at Ebbsfleet in Kent and as well as King’s Cross in London, but we need to make sure that we’re focusing on this at an early stage.

Deighton’s set a challenging timetable for developing HS2 Growth Strategies for each of the stations along the line and the creation of delivery bodies to ensure that the strategies are carried through, but without this early intervention, there’s every chance that we’ll be missing a trick.

We need to get in there early to harness the opportunities from the increase in land values that will undoubtedly occur as HS2 comes to fruition. 

For too many schemes in the past these financial gains have primarily benefitted private developers, so the key for HS2 has to be for these delivery bodies to work quickly to harness more benefit for the public sector.

But I would suggest that we need to go even further than this; while there rightly needs to be a coordinated effort by local authorities to bring forward the regeneration benefits, this needs to be done in partnership with the private sector.

It’s imperative that Government, Local Authorities and UK business take a holistic approach to achieving the benefits of HS2, which will stretch far beyond the train line.

Mark Reynold is chief executive of Mace