City bucks the trend with rail jobs boost

New HQ at hockey stadium

THE city has scooped a deal that will bring major new investment and jobs.

Network Rail has signed up to build a new HQ on the site of the former National Hockey Stadium alongside the central station.

It will be a national centre for a number of departments currently located elsewhere in the country.

Details of the scheme will not be announced until next spring, but the project is being hailed as a major coup for Milton Keynes.

Milton Keynes Partnership chief executive John Lewis said: "Network Rail's decision to commit to this major investment in Milton Keynes is a real boost to business confidence in the city.

"We will continue to work closely with Network Rail and Milton Keynes Council to support the successful delivery of this exciting opportunity."

Council leader Isobel McCall said: "It's brilliant news for the city – the best we have had for the local economy for some years in terms of major relocation.

"It is particularly welcome given all the gloom and doom about the economy generally.

"I am sure that we will have a spin-off of new jobs from this."

A Network Rail spokesman said the five-hectare site would bring together a number of Network Rail's key national functions by the end of 2011.

There is so far no word on new jobs that might be created.

"The main reason behind choosing Milton Keynes is its transport links, schools, hospitals and leisure facilities," he said.

Chief executive Iain Coucher said: "We have 80 corporate offices across the country but no national hub. Creating this heart for the business is an important step in delivering our long-term plans. That is why we have started planning ahead for a state-of-the-art centre based in Milton Keynes.

"As expectation grows, we need to be more effective and efficient in delivering our ambitious plans. Creating a national centre will make us better and innovative in the way we work, supporting our routes to deliver a better service for our customers and rail users."