HS2: Hotel and store HQ to be demolished
6,000 jobs could be ‘displaced or lost’
TRANSPORT: Almost 5,000 jobs will “be displaced or possibly lost” when a £500m HS2 station is built in Leeds – with Asda’s head office and a Hilton hotel among the dozens of premises to be demolished.
An environmental statement from HS2 was published on the impact of the building of the station.
ALMOST 5,000 jobs will “be displaced or possibly lost” when a new £500m HS2 station is built in Leeds – with Asda’s head office and a Hilton hotel among the dozens of business premises to be demolished.
An environmental statement from HS2 on the impact of the building of the station, which is due to start in late 2024, listed the losses of the Hilton Leeds City Hotel on Neville Street and Asda’s head office as having a “major adverse” impact. The report said 59 business units or sites will experience “direct impacts” from the building work – including financial and professional services firms, a driving school training centre and a car dealership.
More than 1,000 other jobs in Yorkshire will also be affected by the building of the HS2 line through the region.
The report warns both Asda, which employs around 2,000 people in the city, and the Hilton hotel, “would have difficulty in finding suitable quality alternative premises of equivalent scale” in Leeds. Earlier this year, Asda said it intended to keep a headquarters in Leeds despite the proposed merger with Sainsbury’s.
The report said: “The construction of the proposed scheme would require the demolition of the Hilton Leeds City Hotel, and of Asda Head Office. Hotels can be bespoke buildings that exist in unique locations within a city; and there is a more limited supply than, for example, office space. It is considered that these operators would have difficulty in finding suitable alternative premises. The effect on the Hilton Leeds City Hotel, and its employees, would be major adverse and therefore significant.
“Asda Head Office operates as the headquarters for a multi-national retailer. It is considered that the operators would have difficulty in finding suitable quality alternative premises of equivalent scale.
“The effect on Asda Head Office, and its employees, is assessed to be major adverse and therefore significant. An estimated 4,870 jobs would either be displaced or possibly lost in the wider Leeds Station area.
“There is a reasonable probability that businesses would be able to relocate to places that would still be accessible to residents within the travel to work areas due to the general availability of vacant premises.
“However, there may be cases where alternative locations are problematic and the businesses may be unable to relocate on a like-for-like basis within the area.”
An Asda spokesman said: “Since HS2 was announced in 2015, we have been in regular dialogue with the council and are fully aware of the proposed plans should the development goahead.”
Around 520 construction jobs will be created by the building of the new HS2 station in Leeds and council leader Judith Blake said earlier this week the high-speed line “will bring many thousands of jobs” to the city.
Final plans for the route through Yorkshire will be submitted to Parliament in 2020 and operation of the route is expected to start in 2033.