David Fletcher, Director of City Development & Growth for Derby City Council (and Bid Director for the GBR HQ competition)
As many of you reading this will know, last week’s GBR HQ announcement represents a key first step in delivering a simpler, better railway for everyone in Britain.
The proposal to establish a new headquarters for GBR outside London was welcomed by many in the rail industry, as it reflects government recognition that GBR will need to work closely and collaboratively with the private sector supply chain.
All of the shortlisted cities could lay claim to having successful and diverse supply chain businesses located on their doorsteps, and this was reflected in the excellent bids submitted by Birmingham, Crewe, Doncaster, Newcastle and York.
But the decision to choose Derby acknowledged not just the strength of support for our city, expressed through the public vote, but also our position at the heart of Europe’s largest cluster of rail related business and our vision for the future.
Derby is proud to be the home of the Rail Forum, which over 30 years has grown to be the UK’s largest railway trade association, with a membership drawn from across the entire country. The Forum’s expertise in promoting collaboration and championing the skills agenda is recognised by both regional and national government.
As we start work with the GBR Transition Team to identify the preferred site for the Derby HQ we are keen to partner with the Rail Forum to see how this new facility can also meet the needs of the entire UK supply chain, with opportunities for on-site collaboration and regular engagement with the new guiding mind.
Derby’s rail sector businesses have a long and proud history in the service of the wider national network. Our vision for GBR’s HQ is that Derby should maintain that tradition of serving the whole railway: its passengers, freight users and the entire rail supply chain.
We look forward to working with many of you as together we look to build a simpler, better railway for everyone in Britain, one that is headquartered in Derby.
Pictured: David Fletcher (right of picture) in conversation with the Rt Hon Mark Harper MP, Secretary of State for Transport at last week’s announcement in Derby