HS2 in Northamptonshire: New railway brings jobs, investment, better transport links and community funding

Construction is well underway on High Speed Two (HS2) Britian’s new high-speed, zero carbon railway.
Co-owners of Northamptonshire-based GCN Tipper Hire Ltd, Paul Heard, left, and Gary Niblett, right, have seen their aggregate haulier business boom with HS2Co-owners of Northamptonshire-based GCN Tipper Hire Ltd, Paul Heard, left, and Gary Niblett, right, have seen their aggregate haulier business boom with HS2
Co-owners of Northamptonshire-based GCN Tipper Hire Ltd, Paul Heard, left, and Gary Niblett, right, have seen their aggregate haulier business boom with HS2

It is Europe’s largest infrastructure project, with over 350 active sites between the West Midlands and London. Although it’s a while until its train services begin, HS2 is delivering economic growth for Britain right now, supporting almost 30,000 jobs and over 2,700 UK businesses of which 60 per cent are small and medium-sized companies.

The project is already benefiting people across Northamptonshire and better connect Britain’s largest economic regions, increasing capacity on our railways and cutting carbon emissions from transport.

HS2 in Northants and Oxon

Progress is being made on the section of HS2 that will run north-east of Banbury and east of Brackley. Construction in this area is being led by HS2’s main contractor, EKFB – a joint venture between Eiffage, Kier, Ferrovial Construction and BAM Nuttall.

Jobs and skills for local people

Building the line between the West Midlands and London will generate 400,000 contracts. These contracts have an estimated worth of £23 billion – providing thousands of jobs across Britain.

EKFB is creating 4,000 new job opportunities to build its section of the railway, which runs through Oxfordshire and Northants. There will also be opportunities for young people to earn while they learn with over 150 apprenticeships on offer for both on-site and office-based roles.

Brackley Town FC clubhouse rebuilt thanks to £75k HS2 grant.Brackley Town FC clubhouse rebuilt thanks to £75k HS2 grant.
Brackley Town FC clubhouse rebuilt thanks to £75k HS2 grant.

To see all HS2’s current opportunities and to apply, visit hs2.org.uk/careers.

HS2 is also benefitting smaller businesses. There are more than 150 businesses currently working on HS2 in Oxon, Northants, Bucks, and Warks, 70 per cent of which are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Educational opportunities are also available for local schools and colleges. Pupils at Purple Oaks, a school in Northamptonshire, recently undertook a five-week educational course delivered by EKFB. The course focuses on equipping pupils with the skills they need for the working world and has been well received.

Ethan, a pupil from the school, said: “I just want to thank EKFB for teaching us, it was really a blast learning about the skills and qualities which I didn’t even know I had. I enjoyed, well, all of it really! I liked the VR crane-driving simulator and how we got to look inside a delivery lorry at the end. I also liked the hi-vis PPE and the people, they were very kind and caring.”

Crowd in the stands at Brackley FC.Crowd in the stands at Brackley FC.
Crowd in the stands at Brackley FC.

Boosting local business

Over 2,700 businesses have worked on HS2 so far and around 50 per cent of these are based in counties close to the line. One such company is Northamptonshire-based GCN Tipper Hire Ltd. As an aggregate haulier, they collect materials required to build HS2 from rail freight collection points and deliver them to EKFB construction sites.

Paul Heard, Co-owner of GCN Tipper Hire Ltd, said: “We started GCN Tipper Hire Ltd in November 2021 with just two vehicles, with just myself and Gary. Work on HS2 has allowed us to expand rapidly and in less than a year, we had acquired eight lorries and two support vehicles, and now employ 10 members of staff – most live locally.”

Funding for communities in Oxon and Northants

HS2 wants to leave a positive legacy for people and places. One way it’s doing this, is by giving local people the opportunity to receive funding for community-based projects. HS2’s Community and Environment fund (CEF), has provided over £1 million of funding for Northamptonshire. The funds went to 22 community projects across the county, including cycling schemes, sports clubs and environmental protection.

Brackley Town Football Club is one of the local organisations that have benefitted, after receiving £75,000 to reconstruct its clubhouse after it was lost in a fire back in 2019. After two years of work, ‘The Venue’ finally opened its doors.

Janene Butters, Chief Executive Officer, Brackley Town FC said: “Brackley Town FC was founded in 1890 where it’s moved all the way through the leagues playing for promotion, if we can, this season. To fundraise for the club, we hosted lots of quizzes and bonfire nights, with a big focus on our supporter's wall. Without HS2, we would not have been able to have the most fantastic place we’ve got now.”

In Oxfordshire, three projects have received £150,000 of funding. One of these projects is the redevelopment of the gym and changing facilities at Banbury & District Canoe Club. If you would like to apply for the CEF or BLEF programmes, you can find out more information at: hs2funds.org.uk.

Respecting people and places

To minimise disruption to Oxfordshire communities and ease the pressure on local roads, HS2 is building a temporary access road linking the construction sites to others across Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and South Warwickshire.

The first stage of this road was recently opened and will allow for easy transportation of workers, equipment and building materials to sites in rural areas. The road is expected to carry 400-500 vehicles each day, reducing the amount of HGV journeys made using local roads.

Stay informed about HS2

HS2 understands that its work will affect residents, which is why there are many ways for people to stay informed and have their voices heard. You can receive regular updates about the project – including notifications of upcoming works, how it’s being constructed and what is being done to make it less disruptive – by signing up at hs2.org.uk/in-your-area.

Anyone with general queries about the project can contact the HS2 Helpdesk all day, every day. Call 08081 434 434 or email: [email protected]

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