Plans to extend the Nottingham tram through to Eastwood and Kimberley are now bigger than ever.
Campaigners and councillors are proposing to link Nottingham’s existing tram network with the planned HS2 high-speed railway station at Toton – and meetings are afoot to start making the plans a reality.
Now included in the proposals for the tram is a “hub”, which will link up to HS2.
The tram, extended out to Eastwod and Kimberley, would feed into the hub in Langley Mill, additionally offering a fast link to the HS2 hub in Toton, and an electric bus to Ripley.
The link into the HS2 hub in Toton would connect north Broxtowe with a fast route to London and give quick access to Nottingham city centre.
Councillor Richard Robinson, Broxtowe Borough Council member for Kimberley, has submitted these detailed proposals to East Midlands Councils – an organisation which represents the interest of local councils to Government.
They will be followed up and looked at in more detail at a meeting next week with Sir John Peace, the head of Midlands Engine, an organisation liaising with local authories to look at the feasability of HS2.
Coun Robinson will be at the meeting along with Eastwood MP Gloria De Piero, Nottingham North MP Alex Norris, a regional officer from the Light Rapid Transit Association, Andrew Pritchard from East Midlands Councils and Andy Cooper, chairman of the Kimberley, Eastwood and Nuthall Tram Action Group.
Coun Robinson said: “We want to talk to Sir John about a major hub in Langley Mill.
“It’s got a train station and a big bus depot there already and it’s all about connectivity.
“HS2 is one of the most critical things to happen in Broxtowe in many, many years.
“I am really excited about it. A lot of work has gone into it.
“It’s about major investment and a once-in-a-lifetime oppoerunity. If we miss out, this opportunity is not going to come back again.”
He said he was looking for a ‘commitment’ from Midlands Engine that they will look at including the hub in Langley Mill in their plans for HS2.
He said: “I want them to recognise the regeneration, connectivity and investment.
“I would not be doing my job properly if all of the money went to the south of the borough.
“This is our chance to put north Broxtowe on the map.
“It’s an old mining area that’s been deprived of funding and investment, and this is a fantastic opportunty.
The HS2 –linking London with Bimingham and onto Manchester and Leeds, via the East Midlands, is planned between 2028 and 2032.
The campaign for a tram through Eastwood and Kimberley first began nine years ago.
KENTAG drew out the route for the tram to go along the old track bed in Kimberley.
Local businesses have got behind the campaign to bring the tram to Eastwood and Kimberley and link it up with HS2.
James Honeymoon is the asset manager for British Land, which owns Giltbrook Retail Park.
He said: “Delivery of a first class public transport system along the A610 corridor, providing improved access for existing and planned communities brings with it great potential for further sustainable growth for shops, services and employment opportunities.
“We welcome the improvement of public transport links across the region as a means of offering travel choice to our customers and reducing reliance on the car.”
Steve Harrison, sales manager of Heanor-based Bowes Electricals, said his clients come from all over the world and face traffic chaos using transport links from London, Manchester, Glasgow, and Edinburgh to reach them in the midlands.
He said: “This will allow visitors an easier passage to our factory and allow our engineers to be more time effective by not being caught in two hour traffic jams. It would also benefit the local community due to the constant traffic chaos on the A610 around Junction 26 of the M1 and blocking access into the city centre.”
Other organisations who have thrown their support behind the campaign include New Horizon Church in Eastwood, Kevin Gillott, deputy police crime commissioner for Derbyshire, and various local parish and town councils.
Ms De Piero has been an integral part of moving the project forward.
The Labour MP said: “Eastwood is being presented with a golden opportunity to kick-start its regeneration in the form of its proximity to the new HS2 hub in Toton.
“Extending the tram network and creating that link to the Toton hub and to Nottingham city centre is of vital importance to the town’s economic future.
“Close links with a fast, modern transport system like HS2 would be the catalyst to attracting new investment and new employment opportunities.
“An extension to the tram route to create this link is therefore crucial.
“Public transport investment is of paramount importance with the new housing developments planned for Eastwood.
“It is only right Eastwood, so often an area that misses out on funding, so often going to more afluent parts of the borough, starts to receive its fair share of investment.”