Speaking exclusively to the The Yorkshire Post today, Andrew McNaughton, who was the former HS2 technical director and now a strategic and technical adviser – a role he is leaving in January – says he is deeply disappointed with the Government’s scaled-back version of the project and Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR).
As designer of HS2, his vision was a triangle of connection between Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham and while the latter two cities will benefit economically, Yorkshire – which, all told, is to gain a meagre two miles of high-speed track – has been “left-behind”.
So in addition to the deeply entrenched North-South divide this region already suffers, we may also begin to see a chasm between East and West.
However, we must resist the urge to look on jealously at our partners over the Pennines and keep fighting our corner –the last thing we need is to be pitted against each other.
But this is cruelty, it must be said –it will tear families apart because people will have to move away for more attractive opportunities.
Spare a thought for Bradford, which has the UK’s youngest population – and therefore has huge untapped potential – but whose big chance has been snatched away by its exclusion from NPR.
Hull and the Humber, too, is left reeling that it will gain no suitable connectivity to build on its great, green industrial ambitions.
This newspaper knows that many in the North will not care about the railway, per se. But they do care about their family’s futures, good jobs and quality of life.
They certainly will not stand for lies – and this one has been a decade in the making.
Professor McNaughton says the Prime Minister must think again and get the Eastern leg of HS2 back on track. Needless to say, we back him to the hilt.