HS2: Ho­tel and store HQ to be de­mol­ished

6,000 jobs could be ‘dis­placed or lost’

Yorkshire Post - - FRONT PAGE - CHRIS BURN NEWS COR­RE­SPON­DENT Email: chris.burn@jpress.co.uk Twit­ter: @chris­burn_­post

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.

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