Following the cancellation of the Birmingham-Manchester leg of HS2 and the launch of the Network North transport improvement project, we will look at the possible implications for the property market in the north.
The principle behind Network North appears to be to spend the £36bn saved on wider transport projects, which will benefit more areas (and perhaps more parliamentary constituencies) than HS2 would have done. While investment is promised across the country, the north west and Yorkshire is promised the largest share with a £19.8bn investment – plus an additional £12bn for Manchester- Liverpool connectivity.
The official Department for Transport policy paper says Network North is a ‘commitment to the North’. It says it is designed to ‘transform British Transport’ and ‘improve the transport that people use every day’. It says the funding will be used to change our approach to transport infrastructure with three priorities: Drive better connectivity within towns, and between towns, and to improve everyday local journeys.
The policy paper outlines an economic case for prioritising local transport over national transport. It points out that northern towns and cities are geographically close but practically hard to travel between. It says this impacts our national economy.
Before going any further it’s important to note that not all the money saved from scrapping this part of HS2 has been pledged to sparkly new transport projects. Some of the funding is being used to augment funding for existing proposals. Also, many people will assume that investment into things such as bus services and pothole repairs were already covered by existing local government expenditure.