High speed not all good news

Editor’s Blog Posted 13/10/15
As a report reveals the £350million benefits of a high speed rail link to Hastings, some businesses might be less enthusiastic

Should the HS1 rail link be extended from Ashford to Bexhill, Hastings and Rye, the local economy would receive a significant boost in the form of more than 600 jobs and over £27million per year.

That was the conclusion of a report commissioned by East Sussex County Council, Hastings Borough Council and Rother District Council. Other highlights include the claim that the Javelin high speed extension would bring £20million of business growth to the area each year and support an incredible 667 years of house building. The shortened journey time from London - a reduction of about 20 minutes - would also make 1066 Country more attractive to daytrippers, increasing revenue from tourists to £4.7million by 2028.

If these figures are correct, there can be no argument that the HS1 extension would be a fantastic boon to the area.

However, these things also have a flip side, it seems. In the next issue of South East Business, you can read my interview with Andrew Mosley, general manager of The Grand Brighton. Having achieved a 50% increase in turnover in his first five years in the role, Andrew was the deserving winner of MD of the Year at the 2015 Brighton and Hove Business Awards. But although his hotel is going from strength to strength, he did make the point that advances in mobile technology and high speed rail links are among the biggest challenges to the hotel industry going forward, in terms of the business market. If there is no need for a business person to stay away overnight - either because they can hold meetings online or because high speed rail links mean they can easily get there and back within a day - what will that mean for hotels long-term?

You can read about Andrew’s strategy in the Oct/Nov issue of South East Business, out soon.

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