Howard Bernstein and Bruntwood’s Chris Oglesby will take part in a review into HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail set up by think tank the Northern Powerhouse Partnership.
The review has been set up in response to the Government-commissioned Oakervee review of the £52bn high-speed rail line, announced earlier this month.
Along with former Manchester City Council chief executive Bernstein and Bruntwood chief executive Oglesby, the review panel also includes Cllr Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council; Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake; and Paula Dillon, former partner and board member at law firm Womble Bond Dickinson.
According to the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, the review will “scrutinise the case for HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail and examine how we can create economic growth to make the North as prosperous as the South by promoting investment opportunities and bringing forward skilled job opportunities.”
The Northern Powerhouse Partnership was set up by former Chancellor George Osborne, and is pro-HS2. The high-speed rail line has reported to be significantly over budget and the BBC reported this morning that the Government has had knowledge of major increases in the cost of the line since 2016.
Rumours of the review had been swirling ever since Boris Johnson became Prime Minister in July, and the Government confirmed last week Douglas Oakervee will pen a review into the future of the project, set to provide high-speed rail services between London, Birmingham, Crewe, Manchester, and Leeds.
The review will look into the benefits and impacts of HS2; its affordability and efficiency; its deliverability; and its scope and phasing, particularly in relationship to Northern Powerhouse Rail.
For the North West, several huge projects hinge on the delivery of the railway line, particularly in Crewe and Manchester.
These include a large-scale redevelopment of an area around Crewe railway station to provide up to 3.8m sq ft of commercial space; a new railway station at Manchester Airport; and close to 2.9m sq ft of offices, 5,000 apartments, and 261,000 sq ft of retail around a revamped Manchester Piccadilly station.
Henri Murison, Director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership said: “The Northern Powerhouse is of critical importance to the future of UK prosperity, and without improving connectivity it will be difficult to address the underlying reasons for our lower productivity.
“In the coming weeks, this group of distinguished leaders and experts from across the North will be addressing the key evidence to ensure that the importance of economic rebalancing is fully understood by those undertaking the Oakervee review.”