24 june 2014, hs3

Someone's listening - and just over 6 months after my excellent article on the subject, and the best part of two years' work from lots of people of whom I was just one, the uk's finance minster has mooted the possibility of a proper east-west link to the we-hope-soon-to-be-built high-speed network. There are of course many slips twixt cup and lip on hs2, let alone - and I'm claiming the coining of the term first - hs3, but at least it is on the agenda and in pole position for the eventuality that if hs2 does make it, and the appetite, economic case, and financing are there for more, it becomes the obvious, and the right, next step. Albeit heading towards a general election, there is a serious head of steam building up, in both main political parties, for the beefing up of the north as a bigger centre of economic activity, with transport centre stage. Housing is also important, and not just for regeneration, as in the latest abu dhabi investment (a big deal, with more to come), but also where the market wants it in the outdated but now staus quo green belt (see its our castle not our keep). Moving a bit of government out of the capital, like the department of culture following the bbc (see 23 december 2011), would be a hugely symbolic and important intervention the government could do relatively easily if it meant business. Governance too, dare I say it, is another piece of the jigsaw, and one which manchester could itself seek to improve if it were so minded. The hs3 proposal is a great thing though to have on the horizon, but the trick will be to make it stick, across the political spectrum, and to surround it with the other elements of the global city manchester aspires to be and the country needs.

Attached File: go.pdf