Interview: Tom Venner from HS2

Tue 13 November 2018, 2:34 pm

Tom Venner is the commercial development director for HS2, and is responsible for making sure HS2 will deliver growth.

Can you say something about your role and responsibilities at HS2?

HS2 is to be a catalyst for growth across Britain. My role is twofold: to make sure that we maximise the regenerative benefits of High Speed 2, and to ensure that we realise maximum value from the project for the taxpayer. In practice, this means forming ambitious but deliverable real estate development plans in partnership with the places where HS2 is to arrive.

What are the opportunities for growth opened up by HS2, specifically in west London and the Thames Valley?

HS2 will unlock the potential of the whole country. Our station at Old Oak Common will be critical to unlocking the potential in west London and the Thames Valley. Not only will we support the ambitious plans of the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation to deliver a transformative development, we will provide links to the West Coast Mainline and Crossrail travel, further enabling international links via Heathrow. West London and the Thames Valley are well-placed to take advantage of the benefits HS2 will bring.

What are some of the key challenges that need to be overcome in a construction project the size of HS2?

The project is fiercely complex. I won’t pretend to comprehend the full complexity of the engineering or procurement challenge. What I do understand is the level of innovation and ambition required to unlock the massive real estate potential that is latent within High Speed 2. It is massive, and we are seeking to work with the best to squeeze every ounce of potential from the project.

There is opposition to construction, especially from local communities in rural areas. How are the concerns of people addressed, and how are they included in the process?

High Speed 2 has set new standards in engaging with communities. We recognise that construction of this scale can be disruptive, and it is only through collaboration with communities that the project can be delivered. We have moved at pace, from inception, through the Hybrid Bill process, into construction, but we have not scrimped on our investment of time and resources in working with affected communities to mitigate the impact of the project.

Why are you speaking at the WOW London conference?

For the last three decades, the Thames Valley has been a hotbed of innovation and growth. High Speed 2 can learn from what the Thames Valley has achieved, and work to support it in its future development through the investment in economy-changing infrastructure. I hope that, by speaking at this conference, that the Thames Valley market will be inspired to engage positively in our project.

Full programme and further information is available on the event website.

To book your place or for further information, contact Jake Westhead at 020 7978 6840.

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