Rail plans spark local fears

Image issued by HS2 of the Birmingham and Fazeley viaduct, part of the new proposed route for the HS2 high speed rail scheme as the HS2 high-speed rail project has an estimated �3.3 billion funding gap which the Government has yet to decide how to fill: HS2/PA Wire ''

Image issued by HS2 of the Birmingham and Fazeley viaduct, part of the new proposed route for the HS2 high speed rail scheme as the HS2 high-speed rail project has an estimated �3.3 billion funding gap which the Government has yet to decide how to fill: HS2/PA Wire ''

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Fears have been raised by the district council and a key tourism figure over the financial impact on East Lindsey of the government’s planned HS2 intercity rail link.

Although the HS2 project’s route from London to Manchester takes it nowhere near many parts of the country - new data suggests it will have wide ranging impacts on every corner of the UK.

A Freedom of Information request by the BBC at the weekend revealed that many outlying parts of the UK stand to lose big if HS2 goes ahead - with investment which businesses might otherwise have made in those communities, likely going to towns and cities in the vicinity of the HS2 route.

Worst hit appear to be eastern parts of England and Scotland - with Aberdeenshire, Angus, Dundee and parts of Norfolk potentially set to lose hundreds of millions of pounds between them if businesses are ‘enticed’ by the better transport links offered by Hs2, should it go ahead.

In Lincolnshire the picture is particularly confused.

In the new data the ‘South East Lincolnshire’ area, which includes Boston and South Holland, could lose anywhere between £13m and £33m if HS2 goes ahead.

On the face of it there’s better news for the coast, with ‘Lincoln City and the Coast’ expected to generate an extra £63m to £116m as a result of HS2.

However, the apparent hit in the Boston area, the ‘large’ geographical distance between Lincoln and the coast, and Lincoln’s relatively close proximity to intercity rail links has led some to question how much of this extra cash would come Skegness’s way.

The council’s Portfolio Holder for Economic Regeneration, Cllr Craig Leyland, said: “On the surface the report into the effect of the HS2 rail link together with the figures released under the Freedom of Information request suggest that the East Lindsey District economy - could be set to benefit from up to £115m a year.

“However, we are well aware that both geographically and economically the East Coast and Wolds are very different to Lincoln City, which throws the credibility of these figures into doubt, especially given the fact that the neighbouring areas of South Holland and Boston look set to lose out financially to the tune of up to £32m.

“We are keeping a very close eye on this situation and the effect it has on our district. The government has pledged £15bn in funding to reduce any adverse impact on regional economies arising from the HS2 link – this is something we would actively pursue.”

Skegness, East Coast and Wolds Hospitality Association chair Nigel Tett has said the cash earmarked for HS2 would be better spent across the rail network as a whole.

“If this enormous cost was instead spent on the rail network across the country then I think it’d benefit the whole country and not just those living on the HS2 rail line,” he said.