Osborne warned over delay risk to HS2 college

How the National College for High Speed Rail might look
How the National College for High Speed Rail might look
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GEORGE Osborne has been warned the opening of the National College for High Speed Rail in Yorkshire could be delayed unless the Government approves millions of pounds of investment, The Yorkshire Post understands.

Funding to meet the estimated £50 million cost has yet to be agreed more than a year after Doncaster and Birmingham were chosen by Ministers to jointly host the new college.

The Yorkshire Post understands Doncaster executive mayor Ros Jones, Sheffield City Region Combined Authority chairman Sir Stephen Houghton and Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership chairman James Newman have sent a joint letter to the Chancellor urging him to act quickly.

A bid has been submitted for £40 million of Government funding and it is understood the letter warns the failure to make a decision in the coming weeks could put the college’s planned 2017 opening date at risk.

The Government proposed the college to ensure that there are enough engineers with the skills needed to build the planned HS2 rail link between London and Yorkshire and future high speed projects.

The concerns over funding have emerged as a planning application is submitted for the Doncaster campus.

The three-story 7,200 square metre building is due to be built on the Doncaster Lakeside Campus site.

Mrs Jones said: “The National College for High Speed Rail will offer opportunities for our existing world-class rail firms to flourish, entice new private sector investment and firms to the town and importantly drive through economic growth and jobs not just for the borough of Doncaster but also the Sheffield City Region, Yorkshire and the north of England.”

It is estimated that the HS2 project will support as many as 100,000 jobs nationally, reate 2,500 construction jobs and 2,000 apprenticeships.

Ministers hope HS2 will kickstart a domestic high speed rail industry ready to take on future projects, such as the suggested HS3 transpennine link, and that can be exported to other countries.

If the planning application is agreed and the funding confirmed, construction could begin as soon as April.

Terry Morgan, chair of the corporate board for the college said: “The National College for High Speed Rail will have a major impact on the ability of the UK rail supply industry to develop a suitable and sustainable workforce to deliver HS2 and other infrastructure projects.