HIGH Speed Two rail plans will not deter development at Stoneleigh Park despite the threat that the train line could cut straight through it.
LaSalle Investment Management, which took on a 150-year lease of the site last year, plans to invest £50 million over the next ten years to make the 1,000-acre agricultural business park a centre of excellence, with a roundabout at the park’s main entrance in Stoneleigh Road and a second entrance to handle traffic.
Andrew Bull, European director of LaSalle Investment Management, said this investment will be used to create “a leading science park and attract agricultural and equine businesses from around the world”.
He added: “We are committed to that investment with full knowledge of plans for HS2 and the Royal Agricultural Society of England, which is the ultimate owner of the estate, shares our confidence in developing and revitalising Stoneleigh Park regardless of HS2.
“We have had a good dialogue to date with HS2 and they acknowledge the value of inward investment and job creation at Stoneleigh Park and have been happy to work with us on mitigating any impacts that might deter that investment.
“We are in the middle of those discussions with HS2’s engineers about the options for mitigating the impact of a high speed line and welcome the decision to sink the line below ground level through Stoneleigh Park and the explicit assurance by HS2 that further mitigation along the route is possible.
“We continue to share the interest of local residents in a covered tunnel that would take the line under the park and are investigating the potential of this option to leave tenant businesses undisturbed.”
Cllr Michael Doody, county councillor for Stoneleigh, agreed that the investment plans should go ahead because even if HS2 was built it would not be for another 17 years.
He said: “I hope the line is never built as I’m for high speed trains but not the HS2 version.
“Even if it does go ahead though, you can’t expect people to just wait in limbo for years and not do anything.
“If the train line is built it will go right through the planned roundabout north of the showground, but the Government will have to compensate for this.”
He added: “I definitely agree with the invester’s choice to go ahead with its plans.”