Lincolnshire County Council confirms Grantham for new railways HQ bid

County council bosses confirmed that Grantham will be the focus of a bid to host the new headquarters of the government’s Great British Railways (GBR) in Lincolnshire.

Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps is treated to a colourful Michael Portillo waxing lyrical about Britain’s Great Railway towns and cities as he announces that the public will be able to vote on their choice for the home of Great British Railways. EMN-220103-151216001
Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps is treated to a colourful Michael Portillo waxing lyrical about Britain’s Great Railway towns and cities as he announces that the public will be able to vote on their choice for the home of Great British Railways. EMN-220103-151216001

The GBR is being created as part of a series of reforms by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and aims to be “a single guiding mind that ends the fragmentation of the rail industry”.

It forms part of the government’s Levelling Up White Paper and plans to decentralise a number of government organisations away from London. Last month, the Government launched a competition for areas to put themselves forward to host the HQ outside of London.

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Councillor Colin Davie, Lincolnshire County Council’s economy and environment portfolio holder told the authority’s executive on Tuesday that the authority would be working with South Kesteven District Council on a joint bid.

Grantham's presence on the East Coast Main Line as well as having links east and west are seen as making it an ideal candidate for the new GBR HQ. Photo: LNER EMN-220103-144633001

“[Grantham]’s got a long railway heritage history,” he said.

“The railway came to Grantham in 1850 in the 30s and 40s it was the absolute centre of the railway industry.

“60 of the biggest locomotives were based at the loco depo in Grantham, including the Mallard and The Flying Scotsman for a period of time.

“The location of Grantham 100 miles north of London, on the main line with the East West trajectory to Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, and the southeast, I think makes it a really strong location.”

“The landownership around the railway station, most of which is in the hands of national rail, makes it a perfect site.”

There will be a public vote on the shortlist of applicants but Councillor Davie was confident Greater Lincolnshire would “get behind this”

Coun Davie said: “We’re ambitious for our area and are working on an expression of interest to submit very soon. There are six main criteria to meet so we are compiling data to demonstrate how Grantham would meet the requirements and the benefits it could bring to the wider area. This will be a highly competitive process so we know we need a strong submission.”

Coun Kelham Cooke, Leader of South Kesteven District Council, said: “Grantham is at an exciting crossroads with significant investment opportunities and extensive plans for the future, supported by Central Government funding. Grantham not only has a proud railway heritage but is also a key strategic location for rail commuters and travellers, being only just over an hour from London – connecting north and south, as well as east and west. I hope that residents and businesses will back our joint bid and support us to bring this exciting proposal to life.”

The government says the chosen areas will see their local economies boosted by investment and be put at the heart of decision making.

Launching the competition in February, Mr Shapps said: “Our railways have kept this country moving for almost 200 years, but it’s time to kickstart a new age that will shape our network for the next 200,” he said.