Letter from six LEPS to Ministers Cable (business) and Hancock

Hull and Humber
Leeds City Region
North East
Sheffield City Region
Tees Valley Unlimited
York, North Yorkshire and
East Riding
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
1 Victoria Street
Via e-mail only
Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills
Rt Hon Matthew Hancock MP, Minister of State for Skills & Enterprise
Joint letter in support of the Sheffield City Region High Speed Rail College Bid
Hull & Humber LEP
Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership
North East LEP
Sheffield City Region LEP
Tees Valley Unlimited
York, North Yorkshire & East Riding Enterprise Partnership
8th July 2014
Dear Ministers,
As private sector-led Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) we are pleased to
strongly endorse the Sheffield City Region (SCR) bid for the national High Speed
Rail (HSR) College.
We believe that the CREATE partnership’s (Centre for Rail Engineering and
Technical Excellence) bid for the national HSR College located in Doncaster
complements significant existing rail assets and investments in this part of the
We believe that the SCR is the right place for the location of the college because:
1. A college in the SCR will make sure the benefits of the Government’s HSR
investment spreads to northern areas of the country and into local and regional
economies beyond the immediate route. Locating the HSR College in the SCR
will be an important step to achieving the ‘northern powerhouse’ aspirations
announced by the Chancellor last week – with a number of opportunities for
strong collaborations between City Regions in Yorkshire and the wider North
East, contributing to rebalancing the national economy.
2. SCR has a critical mass of innovative, resilient businesses with international
scale, scope and reach. They are already delivering over £6bn investment in the
rail industry (excluding HS2 investment). Companies such as Volker Rail, Wabtec
Rail, Hitachi Rail, Unipart Rail and Henry Boot Construction are leading the bid to
bring the college to the North.
3. The CREATE partnership has a vision beyond HS2 – to create a world class
Technical University that will deliver UK infrastructure skills for the long term in a
place which already has world-class partnerships between business and the
university sector, including the Faculty of Engineering, Rail Technology
Innovation Centre and the world-class Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre
4. The Yorkshire Universities Group and Yorkshire Association of Colleges are
committed to making the college a success and have already written to the Skills
Minister and the Secretaries of State for both Business and Transport, urging the
college to be located in this region. The region and wider North East has a
network of world class provision that is delivering the high level skills that industry
needs now and in the future. In particular our institutions have specialist expertise
in the areas of construction and engineering, ensuring a world class knowledge
base is available in Yorkshire and the North East for the High Speed Rail College
to tap into.
5. Doncaster is the gateway to the North East with excellent connectivity north and
south, east and west. The college location will be just 15 minutes away from a
proposed HS2 station. Doncaster is already a key hub on the East Coast Main
Line and also benefits from excellent road, air and sea connectivity. It is only 20
minutes from York, 27 minutes from Leeds, 53 minutes from Darlington and 88
minutes from central London.
6. Sheffield City Region is able to offer a prime iconic site located in the prestigious
Lakeside area of Doncaster with major expansion potential (approx. 11acres),
within walking distance to a range of major rail companies supporting the bid. The
site is ‘ready to go’ with cost certainty, no enabling works required and will be
gifted by the CREATE partnership in recognition of the significance of the
economic opportunity.
In summary, this is a bid which is driven by business, supported by the UK’s leading
education providers and backed by local authorities and LEPs up and down the UK.
At the time of writing the SCR bid is supported by over 200 Businesses and individuals,
10 Chambers of Commerce, and over 20 Local Authorities from across the country. It
has cross party support from the All Party Parliamentary Group for Yorkshire and
Northern Lincolnshire in the House of Commons.
On behalf of our respective LEPs we would like to add our voice of support and would
strongly recommend that Government supports the SCR bid.
Lord Haskins,
Hull and Humber LEP
Roger Marsh,
Leeds City Region
Enterprise Partnership
Paul Woolston,
North East LEP Chair
James Newman, Sheffield
City Region LEP Chair
Sandy Anderson,
Tees Valley Unlimited
Barry Dodd CBE,
York, North Yorkshire and
East Riding Enterprise
Partnership Chair