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Planners welcome HS2 Growth Taskforce Report

Words: Roger Milne
How the HS2 could look

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has welcomed the HS2 Growth Taskforce Report, which recognises the “far reaching economic and social benefits” and “transformational” effects that major transport infrastructure can deliver.

The organisation has called on government to adopt and implement its proposals, urging ministers to capitalise on the potential benefits of investment on the scale of HS2.

Cath Ranson, President of the RTPI, said: “The RTPI welcomes the HS2 Growth Taskforce Report. The government must now follow through with its recommendations to ensure that we make the most of the opportunities the massive public sector investment offers.

"Many of the Taskforce recommendations chime with those that we set out in our latest policy paper, Capturing The Wider Benefits of Investment In Transport Infrastructure. In particular, we welcome the emphasis on the need for strategic planning, especially in regard to the important role that early land assembly can play in capturing fair gains from land value uplifts, ensuring confidence for investors, and guaranteeing delivery of development.

"We also welcome calls for a larger than local planning to fully capture the benefits from HS2 including the need for a central delivery body and coordination and ‘collaboration across organisations and administrations’.

"Effective strategic planning, with a wide scope and ambition, is the only guaranteed way to fully capture the wider benefits of investment in major infrastructure. Local and national government must recognise that the effects, and therefore the opportunities, of major transport infrastructure projects reach much further than just the development of the project itself. Proactive, strategic planning holds the key to capturing a range of wider economic and social benefits, across multiple sectors.”

The HS2 Growth Report also endorses the RTPI’s calls for the government to review its appraisal processes for transport infrastructure projects, in order to ensure that wider benefits, including transformative effects on places and job markets, are more fully captured, and that where they are not, local and national leaders play a more forthcoming role in painting the strategic vision of the benefits that infrastructure will deliver.

This report makes a range of practical recommendations, including:

- the call for HS2 "places" to develop growth strategies by the end of 2014

- for LEPs to develop HS2 priorities in their Strategic Economic Plans

- for the government to outline its proposals for enhanced capacity on the existing network by the end of 2014

- for non-HS2 "places" to develop their plans about how they can best connect to the network.

Download the HS2 Growth Taskforce Report