On 9th October the Bexhill Hastings High Speed (HS1) Rail Economic Report was released at a meeting chaired by local MP Huw Merriman at the De La Warr Pavilion.
There are plans for the high speed trains to come to Bexhill - making London accessible in just 78 minutes!
However, in order for the funding to be granted it needs to be economically viable and be able to demonstrate that the capital invested will be returned through economic growth, development and employment opportunities.
It has been declared many times that the “Javelin” train services will be a ‘game changer’ for Bexhill and the economic report certainly supports this opinion.
The report states that East Sussex has fallen behind comparable areas in terms of connectivity to London.
The report highlights these economic and regeneration benefits:
New commuting opportunities - Bexhill would be a viable commuter town thus leading to a positive net migration of people all of whom will be looking to spend money in the town.
This will result in further investment, the growth of current businesses and the introduction of new businesses to the area.
The report predicts the creation of 425 jobs and £19.9m of gross value added per annum by 2023.
The positive migration will lead to increased home construction which will help to alleviate the long term housing shortages
Tourism revenue - The last year has demonstrated Bexhill’s ability to stage winning events and attract visitors to the town (eg Roaring Twenties and Motofest).
So it comes as no surprise that the report forecasts an uplift in tourism equivalent to £2.8million of gross value added per annum and the creation of 76 jobs by 2028
Increased GDP - Based on the economic theory of agglomeration (a similar principle to economies of scale, but based on decreasing external costs of production stimulated by a more competitive supply chain in the local area due to higher local demand rather than internal costs) the predicted benefit amounts to an increase in GDP of £123.7million over a 60 year period.
Although this may not seem as directly relevant to Bexhill, the fact that the UK’s economy as a whole is set to benefit gives real credibility to the proposed rail scheme.
Thank you to everyone that sent off letters of support for the high speed railway to Government and other organisations following our project briefing and ‘Learn to Lobby’ event in September.