York will not be home to the Great British Railways HQ, it was confirmed today (Tuesday).
As YorkMix reported yesterday, Derby is the winner of the contest.
Transport Secretary Mark Harper confirmed the decision this morning. The unsuccessful shortlisted locations were Birmingham, Crewe, Doncaster, Newcastle as well as York.
Mr Harper said: “Among an exceptional list of shortlisted applicants, Derby scored highest in the expression of interest stage of the competition, which analysed its suitability against six published criteria: levelling up, connectivity, opportunities for GBR, value for money, heritage and public support.
“It also scored highest in the six-week public vote, attracting 45,600 votes, more than 5,000 ahead of the second placed location in a total vote of 205,000.”
Derby is already home to the UK’s largest train factory – owned by Alstom – where around 2,000 people are employed.
Lib Dem City of York Council leader Keith Aspden reacted angrily to the news. He said it was “disappointing news for York and the North of England that we have not been chosen to be the new home of GBR, despite our excellent bid.
“Whilst our bid this time has been unsuccessful, we have already secured the move of hundreds of civil service job to York and work continues to establish a government hub on the York Central site.
“However, the way the contest has been run is an absolute shambles, just like the government’s ongoing approach to levelling up. From delays to reversals of plans, this is just the latest showing from this shambolic government.”
“The contest has become little more than a headline and election boost to marginal Tory seats. The government has once again abandoned its levelling up promises.”
The Labour MP for York Central Rachael Maskell was equally scathing.
“Over the past year, I’ve held debates, met with ministers, held talks with the Great British Rail Transition Team and worked closely with all those to establish a rail supercluster in the city,” she said.
“Unparalleled with anywhere in the country, York’s rail supercluster in advanced and digital rail would have been the best location for Great British Railways.
“During the competition we demonstrated our rail expertise, the readiness of our land, and our need for the next generation of good quality rail jobs, but in the end, it appears that a political decision has been made.
“This is yet another case of the government putting their own political priorities ahead of everything else, this time the interests of the entire rail industry. I congratulate Derby on the announcement which undoubtedly will be great for their city.”
Leader of the council’s Labour Group Claire Douglas said: “This was the perfect opportunity to capitalise on York’s railway heritage and bring new jobs not just through GBR HQ, but through other jobs in the railways sector that the HQ would attract.
“The government was clear that a unified approach would be required to be successful in attracting GBR HQ to their cities. Unfortunately in York, that isn’t the approach Liberal Democrat Party running the council took, choosing at times to exclude the city’s two MPs from events designed to drum up support from the public for York’s bid.
“More important apparently was having the endorsement of a Liberal Democrat MP for Kingston in London. This is one in a long line of mis-steps for the retiring council leader, and hopefully for York’s sake it will be Cllr Aspden’s last.”