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Old August 31st, 2014, 03:46 PM   #1
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The Northern Cities: Governance and infrastructure (including HS3)

.

Liverpool reflected in the Mersey: "Collaborating with other cities
and other countries is the future, and it helps to be able to shape
much of that future ourselves," says elected mayor Joe Anderson.



Will the north follow Scotland and search for greater power?
The most remarkable thing about the fast train between Liverpool and Leeds is that it doesn't exist. Sure, some trains move more swiftly than others, but there's none that even the most hucksterish rail operative would call fast. Not in 2014, between two of England's leading cities, both with aspirations to have futures as well as pasts.

So it is that an hour and three-quarters after setting off from Liverpool Lime Street, you arrive in Leeds, 60-odd miles away. A London train leaving Liverpool at the same time for the 210-mile journey would arrive only 20 minutes later. And that train would be full of people doing business, preparing for meetings. The Leeds train is not full of anyone much at all.

"Yep, not the greatest of journeys," says Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds city council when I fetch up in his office, "but I've got a better illustration." A better illustration, that is, of how the northern cities fail to connect. Manchester, Leeds's neighbour across the Pennines, is 35 miles away or an hour by train. "But only half a per cent of Leeds people ever go to Manchester; and it's the same the other way round."

Wakefield's "half per cent" statistic might seem arcane but it says plenty about how England operates. Open a map and you can draw a neat, relatively short line linking Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds, moving across country. But people and businesses, tend not to move this way, as Wakefield suggests. Northerners who leave home, whether for the day or for good, tend to head south. All roads – and fast trains – lead to London.

http://www.theguardian.com/cities/20...ys-jobs-cities

'



Manchester town hall: northern leaders have overcome past divisions
to bring forward a coherent plan for investment.



Whichever way Scotland votes, more power must be devolved in England
Even if the people of Scotland vote against independence, all of the mainstream political parties have promised Holyrood greater powers and responsibilities. If the nation avoids separation, this could still precipitate a constitutional conundrum south of the border as England – led by its core cities – asks "What about us?" The upcoming conference season will be a good time for politicians to offer some answers.

IPPR North has long argued that greater English devolution can both unlock national economic prosperity and drive a new wave of public service reform.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentis...nd-must-change

'




Why the ‘One North’ transport proposals make my heart sink

According to a popular online journey planner, I could at this moment leave my front door in south Manchester and, using public transport, be in the centre of Leeds in an hour and a quarter. I could travel to the centre of Liverpool in one hour and two minutes. Getting to the large Sharston industrial estate, in south Manchester, would also take me exactly one hour and two minutes.

As a proud resident of the north of England, I am not lacking in visions of how life here could be improved. Strangely, these have never included taking a diagonal sash stretching from Newcastle to Liverpool and transforming it into an ersatz imitation of the south-east commuter belt. Economic investment and regeneration are desperately needed, of course, and perhaps I should be cheering the proposals announced today by the civic leaders of five big cities to improve transport infrastructure to the tune of £15bn and create an economic powerhouse under the banner One North.

In truth, the plans and their paucity of imagination makes my heart sink. Who will really benefit from these developments? It is unlikely to be the poorest, the jobless, those on the merry-go-round of insecure, low-paid employment. People in poverty need employment opportunities close to home, not because they do not have the time to travel, but because they do not have the money. Despite being the most densely populated major country in Europe, England has longer and more expensive commutes than any competing country, with train passengers in particular paying up to three times as much in real terms to get to and from work each day. I can only shrug at proposals to make public transport faster, when the real need is to make them cheaper.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentis...orthern-cities

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Old August 31st, 2014, 11:55 PM   #2
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The most remarkable thing about the fast train between Liverpool and Leeds is that it doesn't exist. Sure, some trains move more swiftly than others, but there's none that even the most hucksterish rail operative would call fast. Not in 2014, between two of England's leading cities, both with aspirations to have futures as well as pasts.

So it is that an hour and three-quarters after setting off from Liverpool Lime Street, you arrive in Leeds, 60-odd miles away. A London train leaving Liverpool at the same time for the 210-mile journey would arrive only 20 minutes later.
Although I would agree with the basic point, it is remarkable that the lamentable Grauniad hack quotes figures that are all badly wrong. He/she could have spent 5 minutes on the internet to get the basic facts right, but decided instead to just make them up. I did used to think the paper was at least a good read (despite the infamous spelling mistakes) but now it's current crop of journalists seem to be as piss-poor as those employed by the tabloids.

Leeds is 76 miles, not 60-odd. London is 193 miles, not 210. The hourly fast service takes 88 minutes to Leeds, not 105. And the London train takes on average about 133 minutes, so over 45 minutes longer and not 20 as the article implies.

So the hourly Leeds train averages just under 52 mph while stopping every 38 miles. The hourly London train manages just over 87 mph while stopping on average every 64.5 miles. It is a big discrepancy, but not to the extent that article implies. And there are plenty of journeys down south that are no faster, it's not only in the north.
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Old September 1st, 2014, 02:47 AM   #3
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Portsmouth-Brighton being a Stirling example. In fact, most routes along the South Coast. I used the Brighton to Ashford service once :s

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Old September 1st, 2014, 11:42 AM   #4
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Portsmouth-Brighton being a Stirling example. In fact, most routes along the South Coast. I tused the Brighton to Ashford service once :s
Compare Maidstone (or indeed any Kent town East of the M23) to Gatwick. How can it be quicker for me to go to Southend from Maidstone than Gatwick????
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Old September 1st, 2014, 12:19 PM   #5
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Gatwick to Maidstone is two changes :s Two!
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Old September 1st, 2014, 01:18 PM   #6
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Gatwick to Maidstone is two changes :s Two!
Actually you can do it in one change but I maybe ought to have mentioned I actually want the Medway Valley Line rather than Maidstone East. (You can do that in 1 change for Snodland from January)

Southend is 3 changes but Stratford is 40 minutes and then 50 minutes out to Southend with a walk from International to Domestic at Stratford for about a 2 hour trip.

Down to Paddock Wood, then Tonbridge, then Red Hill then Gatwick can be done quicker (if there is a through train to Tonbridge). But its very hit and miss and I would only take this route if I intend on eating breakfast or dinner at Gatwick so there is a little wiggle room.

Although the best way is HS1 to St Pancras then Thameslink down to Gatwick but thats needs a HS1 ticket as I do not think its an accepted route even with a through ticket.

It was not the changes or really the duration but the reliability and pleasantness of the trip
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Old September 1st, 2014, 02:28 PM   #7
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The Northern Cities: Governance and infrastructure (including HS3)

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Although I would agree with the basic point, it is remarkable that the lamentable Grauniad hack quotes figures that are all badly wrong. He/she could have spent 5 minutes on the internet to get the basic facts right, but decided instead to just make them up. I did used to think the paper was at least a good read (despite the infamous spelling mistakes) but now it's current crop of journalists seem to be as piss-poor as those employed by the tabloids.

Leeds is 76 miles, not 60-odd. London is 193 miles, not 210. The hourly fast service takes 88 minutes to Leeds, not 105. And the London train takes on average about 133 minutes, so over 45 minutes longer and not 20 as the article implies.

So the hourly Leeds train averages just under 52 mph while stopping every 38 miles. The hourly London train manages just over 87 mph while stopping on average every 64.5 miles. It is a big discrepancy, but not to the extent that article implies. And there are plenty of journeys down south that are no faster, it's not only in the north.

It's comment not news and I'm pretty sure the writer is a campaigning blogger not a Guardian staffer. Doesn't absolve him of the responsibility to check his facts but it does provide context for his errors.
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Old September 1st, 2014, 02:35 PM   #8
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Portsmouth-Brighton being a Stirling example. In fact, most routes along the South Coast. I used the Brighton to Ashford service once :s
Damn. I was going to post 'can I mention Portsmouth - Brighton before Tonks gets in.'
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Old September 2nd, 2014, 10:27 AM   #9
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Population of Brighton 156,000 (2001)
Population of Portsmouth 205,000 (2011)
Population of Maidstone 113,000 (2011)
Population of Ashford 59,000 (2001)
Population of Southend 175,000 (2011)

Population of Manchester 511,000 (2012) 2.5m in urban area
Population of Leeds 752,000 (2011)
Population of Liverpool 466,000 (2011)
Population of Sheffield 552,000 (2011)
Population of Newcastle 280,000 (2011)
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Old September 2nd, 2014, 11:26 AM   #10
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Population of Brighton 156,000 (2001)
Population of Portsmouth 205,000 (2011)
Population of Maidstone 113,000 (2011)
Population of Ashford 59,000 (2001)
Population of Southend 175,000 (2011)

Population of Manchester 511,000 (2012) 2.5m in urban area
Population of Leeds 752,000 (2011)
Population of Liverpool 466,000 (2011)
Population of Sheffield 552,000 (2011)
Population of Newcastle 280,000 (2011)
Do you have all the urban areas?
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Old September 2nd, 2014, 12:11 PM   #11
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Do you have all the urban areas?
Cripes, don't!

There are some interesting questions in those statistics, though - regardless of urban areas, they do reflect that the south coast is a lot less densely populated than the north. The area of the north-west occupied by Liverpool and Manchester and the bits in between is over 5 million people, W/N Yorks another 3, and so on.

Yet in the south coast they have 12 car trains, busy, yet with quite slow services. Because (almost) everyone is going to and from London? Much smaller urban areas, yet more people travelling?

Is it that people on the south coast travel more by train, or is it that they travel the same or perhaps even less but all head in one direction?

If so is that a good thing? What about the economies of those smaller places, are they all in rude health? Do their high streets struggle? Are people happy commuting such distances? What are their lives like?

If it is that they do travel more, what is it about their services that makes that happen? Or is it that they would still do the journey by dustcart, such is the importance of getting there? And if so, what is it about the places they live in that makes them stay? Quality of life, or just cost?

I think before we look at raw population numbers vs train travel we need to think about these things, both to look at what is realistic to attain and what is the ideal for us.

To that end, I would suggest looking not at and comparing raw population numbers, but at inter-urban commuter numbers and modal share of that, as a guide. Raise the modal share, sure, consolidate travel options perhaps - but simply getting people to travel for the sake of it would seem environmentally and economically daft, if instead we could aim for more people simply being able to find work more locally.
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Old September 2nd, 2014, 12:57 PM   #12
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Cripes, don't!

There are some interesting questions in those statistics, though - regardless of urban areas, they do reflect that the south coast is a lot less densely populated than the north. The area of the north-west occupied by Liverpool and Manchester and the bits in between is over 5 million people, W/N Yorks another 3, and so on.

Yet in the south coast they have 12 car trains, busy, yet with quite slow services. Because (almost) everyone is going to and from London? Much smaller urban areas, yet more people travelling?

Is it that people on the south coast travel more by train, or is it that they travel the same or perhaps even less but all head in one direction?

If so is that a good thing? What about the economies of those smaller places, are they all in rude health? Do their high streets struggle? Are people happy commuting such distances? What are their lives like?

If it is that they do travel more, what is it about their services that makes that happen? Or is it that they would still do the journey by dustcart, such is the importance of getting there? And if so, what is it about the places they live in that makes them stay? Quality of life, or just cost?

I think before we look at raw population numbers vs train travel we need to think about these things, both to look at what is realistic to attain and what is the ideal for us.

To that end, I would suggest looking not at and comparing raw population numbers, but at inter-urban commuter numbers and modal share of that, as a guide. Raise the modal share, sure, consolidate travel options perhaps - but simply getting people to travel for the sake of it would seem environmentally and economically daft, if instead we could aim for more people simply being able to find work more locally.
All those passengers are heading to London every day. The proportion of people in Liverpool heading to Manchester (or equivalents) every day is a tiny, tiny percentage. However, the hope is that with a proper 'HS3' line this could all change. If you tie together cities like Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds with a proper, dedicated line of some speed then you could live in one city or its suburbs and commute to another, allowing more labour specialisation and a better agglomeration effect.

This could in many ways be better than the London system, where there is a circular central core of activity and there are suburbs around it that are where people live. The northern cities together would have a very differently shaped 'core', being more of a big long string, so there would be a far greater perimeter around it where suburbs could then exist. Instead of having a choice of living in one 'generic south east of England commuter town' against another, people could decide to live in the picturesque parts of the Pennines or in the Moors (if we imagine the core would extend up to Newcastle, shared with HS2) or in the various new dockside residential areas that Merseyside can offer or wherever else. There'll be a far greater supply of housing, but it won't require many enormous inner-city infrastructure projects like Crossrail for that housing to be properly unlocked. Electrification, metro-ification and minor upgrades to the existing rail networks in the cities could do a great deal of benefit without there needing to be a lot of capital expenditure, while any infrastructure that does need to be built can be done so as lower-cost tram or similar schemes.
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Old September 2nd, 2014, 02:19 PM   #13
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All those passengers are heading to London every day. The proportion of people in Liverpool heading to Manchester (or equivalents) every day is a tiny, tiny percentage. However, the hope is that with a proper 'HS3' line this could all change. If you tie together cities like Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds with a proper, dedicated line of some speed then you could live in one city or its suburbs and commute to another, allowing more labour specialisation and a better agglomeration effect.

This could in many ways be better than the London system, where there is a circular central core of activity and there are suburbs around it that are where people live. The northern cities together would have a very differently shaped 'core', being more of a big long string, so there would be a far greater perimeter around it where suburbs could then exist. Instead of having a choice of living in one 'generic south east of England commuter town' against another, people could decide to live in the picturesque parts of the Pennines or in the Moors (if we imagine the core would extend up to Newcastle, shared with HS2) or in the various new dockside residential areas that Merseyside can offer or wherever else. There'll be a far greater supply of housing, but it won't require many enormous inner-city infrastructure projects like Crossrail for that housing to be properly unlocked. Electrification, metro-ification and minor upgrades to the existing rail networks in the cities could do a great deal of benefit without there needing to be a lot of capital expenditure, while any infrastructure that does need to be built can be done so as lower-cost tram or similar schemes.
But that assumes that all these people can afford to commute vast distances. Not to mention, robbing them of their time and displacing their earnings.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't stimulate trade between cities, but I am saying we should question this "agglomeration" talk. Why do we have to be a city of 10m to prosper, when other much smaller cities (like Cambridge, for example) do alright with a fraction of the populations we have. Even some countries are smaller than our cities.

I refuse to believe a city region of 2.4m needs to "agglomerate" with another to provide enough work for its citizens. If 2.4m people can't produce enough trade with each other to keep things going well, then what can? It all smacks of kicking cans down roads, and being seen to do something, anything, when in fact the real issues aren't being addressed.

Low income earners (who couldn't afford £3k a year today to commute to Liverpool) certainly aren't going to be able to afford to go vast distances for cleaning and other such menial jobs, and yet the existence of these jobs for them relies on there being other core industries in the towns and cities they live in requiring such services - an economy.

By indulging the talk of powerful boys and their immature agglomeration buzzwords of the day, far from fixing our cities' various problems we could be landing ourselves with some serious, serious problems.
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Old September 2nd, 2014, 04:01 PM   #14
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But that assumes that all these people can afford to commute vast distances. Not to mention, robbing them of their time and displacing their earnings.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't stimulate trade between cities, but I am saying we should question this "agglomeration" talk. Why do we have to be a city of 10m to prosper, when other much smaller cities (like Cambridge, for example) do alright with a fraction of the populations we have. Even some countries are smaller than our cities.

I refuse to believe a city region of 2.4m needs to "agglomerate" with another to provide enough work for its citizens. If 2.4m people can't produce enough trade with each other to keep things going well, then what can? It all smacks of kicking cans down roads, and being seen to do something, anything, when in fact the real issues aren't being addressed.

Low income earners (who couldn't afford £3k a year today to commute to Liverpool) certainly aren't going to be able to afford to go vast distances for cleaning and other such menial jobs, and yet the existence of these jobs for them relies on there being other core industries in the towns and cities they live in requiring such services - an economy.

By indulging the talk of powerful boys and their immature agglomeration buzzwords of the day, far from fixing our cities' various problems we could be landing ourselves with some serious, serious problems.
I'm not saying that agglomeration would be a solution to all problems but it would mean the cities can work together to compete with London and other global cities. If we can get those kinds of businesses to work there will be more jobs available because reasonably paid professionals could be employed up there, rather than needing to go down to London. There will be benefits to all people in these areas as a result, and without anywhere near the same level of strife that is normally found when a city gets richer and is no longer affordable for normal people. My point about the economic core being linear across the Pennines is that there is then an enormous surface area around which reasonably priced accommodation can exist. In London a cleaner can't find anywhere to live near to Canary Wharf because the prices have increased so much so they have to spend a huge amount of time getting to work on London buses. In this northern super-city, there would be significantly more space for them to have a reasonably priced home near their work.

If that does reek of trickle-down then I totally agree with you, and that's why it cannot be the sole policy that improves the north. It would need to be coupled with a reverse of much of the Tory social policy on welfare. However, the hope is that if you improve the Northern economy by doing this, the cities together could become like London and generate wealth on its own using their own policy initiatives, thus helping to insulate them from future recessions. Also, there's no reason why the Northern agglomeration could not be combined with a new (non-speculative) technological and industrial economy as the Rhine-Ruhr region shows.
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Old September 2nd, 2014, 04:28 PM   #15
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Cambridge isn't 'just' a small city - its economy is closely linked with London's.

How else do you explain the fact that (relatively speaking) the North is depopulating with university leavers disproportionally going south to search for jobs? A city of 2.4m people can sustain the current level of activity if that is your goal, but to stem the relative decline the region must find ways to attract jobs that are only currently being provided by London, and that's through both amalgamating regional resources (wider labour market) and improving connectivity (improving access to markets, including intra-regional markets).

Britain is relatively unique in that the second economic unit is much less than half the size of the dominant economy unit.
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Old September 2nd, 2014, 05:13 PM   #16
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Britain is relatively unique in that the second economic unit is much less than half the size of the dominant economy unit.
As discussed in this BBC article...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-26472423

Quote:
Pretty much everyone in the world knows which is Britain's biggest city, but who can name the second?

It is a trick question, of course. Britain does not have a second city. Instead, it has a first city and a couple of thirds.

The 2011 census figures for Britain's broadly defined built-up areas, ranked by population, show that Greater London comes first with 9.8 million.

That makes it as big as the next six urban areas put together - Greater Manchester (2.5m), the West Midlands (2.4m), West Yorkshire (1.8m), Greater Glasgow and Clyde (1.2m), Liverpool (0.9m) and South Hampshire (0.9m).

Drawing on that list, Manchester and Birmingham offer the best candidates for second city status, but each is still only a quarter of the size of the capital and its sprawling urban area.

Now, if Britain was a typical country, you might expect it to have a second city of about five million, which is twice the size of Greater Manchester or the area around Birmingham.
Just suppose a long-term political decision was made in the UK to expand a city in size to become two-thirds the size of London - where would the best location be? The choice would seem to be between Birmingham and Manchester based on existing size.

I suspect Manchester would shade it as it would be better for the second city to be further away from London than Birmingham. And Hebden Bridge is nearer to it.
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Old September 2nd, 2014, 05:23 PM   #17
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It depends on how they'd choose to do it. If they're protecting the greenbelt and densifying existing built up area in the inner city then either would probably do. Both have a lot of industrial land that could be converted to dense residual areas. If they're part densifying and part linking existing towns Greater Manchester wins out because it's easy to connect to more existing centres of population that are not in the built up area but could easily be linked to it.

I doubt we have the political will to make it happen, but I am coming round to the idea that it's the only way to provide a counterbalance to the South East.

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Old September 2nd, 2014, 05:36 PM   #18
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Manchester could expand west and incorporate Liverpool - that would give a more European-sized "second city"...

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Old September 2nd, 2014, 06:17 PM   #19
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Do you have all the urban areas?
Nowhere near, Rochester, Chatham, Rainham, Gravesend, Dartford, Gillingham, Faversham form a conurbation from inside the M25 to almost half way along the north coast of Kent. And only Faversham is probably smaller than Miadstone

Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells, Sevenoaks all bigger than Maidstone.

All the above fill a massive amount of trains every morning
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Old September 3rd, 2014, 01:04 PM   #20
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Manchester could expand west and incorporate Liverpool - that would give a more European-sized "second city"...

Or better still, Liverpool could expand east and incorporate Manchester. Makes sense.
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