One of the most interesting pieces in your paper last week was: ‘West Sussex deemed ‘biggest losers’ in plans for high-speed railway’.
This was part of a statement from the HS2 Action Alliance opposing the Government’s scheme. But its claims need to be considered because the report has been prepared by accountants KPMG, who are part of the big group of four City accountancy firms.
KPMG also advise the government on tax affairs.
KPMG’s report found that: ‘Economic output in West Sussex could suffer as businesses choose to invest nearer to the new HS2 High Speed Rail route.
Existing rail services from Arundel, Bognor, Chichester, Crawley, Horsham and Worthing could be reduced to help meet the £50 billion cost of the HS2 project…It suggests Horsham could lose £3.83 million.’
Horsham District Council (HDC) won’t publish any information about the kind of companies they claim have expressed interest in moving onto the Liberty site proposed for North Horsham.
The information is commercially sensitive – they say. But is there really evidence to support a massive migration of companies to this western tip of the Gatwick Diamond when there is a mass of industrial space in Crawley, Croydon and Leatherhead – much closer to the economic hubs of the southeast.
Liberty have abandoned the 1m sq.ft. of intended commercial space at their West Malling site in Kent and want now to get planning permission to build houses.
If HS2 goes ahead, KPMG’s report raises more questions that need answering by the likes of Cllrs Dawe, Vickers, Croft and Rae who favour the white elephant of a 500,000 sq.ft. industrial park in our Horsham and Crawley strategic gap rather than small to medium, sized businesses spread through the district on numerous available brown field sites.