High Speed Rail - Transport Committee Contents

Written evidence from LaSalle Investment Management (HSR 159)


1. LaSalle Investment Management is one of the world's leading real estate investment managers. With nearly 700 employees in 16 countries, LaSalle manages approximately £26 billion of private and public property equity investments.

2. In the UK, LaSalle is the largest owner and manger of high technology science parks around the country, including the Royal Agricultural Society of England's 1,047 acre Stoneleigh Park estate. As an established innovation park, and a significant agricultural, equine and rural cluster, Stoneleigh accommodates agricultural, horticultural, equestrian, animal welfare and rural organisations. The Park currently has 140 tenants and employs over 2,000 people, including the National Farmers Union, the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board, the British Equestrian Federation and the British Horse Society. It has between three to four million visitors and over 200 events each year and contributes some £43 million to the economy

3. The Royal Agricultural Society for England's core purposes are the promotion and improvement of the science, technology and practice of agriculture, forestry, horticulture and husbandry of livestock and land, and the promotion and application of improved methods and processes connected to this.

4. At the time LaSalle acquired the site it committed to an investment of £20 million by 2012 and £50 million by 2020 to build on and cement the Stoneleigh estate's reputation as a national hub for innovation and research.


5. It is recognised that the Committee is not intending to examine the precise specification of the HS2 route nor how the route would affect individual landowners, businesses or residents since this can be addressed through the Hybrid Bill process.

6. However, the current proposed alignment of HS2 will have a significant adverse economic impact on LaSalle's and the Royal Agricultural Society of England's investment plans for the future and their on-going management of the overall estate. The original route for HS2 avoided the estate. The revised route goes directly through it and will therefore significantly undermine the viability of the business.

7. Many of the businesses can be expected to relocate (not necessarily in the UK) and the significant advantages of a science park and cluster of related businesses and activities will be lost. It is unlikely that a site similar to the Stoneleigh estate can be found elsewhere in the UK. This will seriously undermine important research programmes in areas such as agricultural innovation which facilitate knowledge transfer and the application of best practice to the environment, sustainable food production and land management.

8. LaSalle has serious reservations whether the economic analysis undertaken by HS2 in determining the revised route for the line has taken into account not just the significant economic implications for the Stoneleigh estate, but also the wider national implications of undermining a significant world renown hub for agricultural and rural innovation and research.

9. If these important wider national implications have not been assessed in HS2's business case then it must be seriously questioned whether it is sufficiently robust for HS2 to be able to justify the current alignment through Stoneleigh Park.

10. The importance of the site is recognised by the government itself which has just agreed to renew the lease at the Park for the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board, while Sport England plans to promote the site as an equine training arena.


11. LaSalle recognises that the Select Committee will wish to focus on the "higher level" justification for and economic merits of high speed rail, and that it wishes to avoid detailed issues around specific alignments and the impacts on individual businesses and properties. However, the significant adverse implications of the proposed route through Stoneleigh Park are of sufficient national importance that LaSalle believes there is a compelling case for the Select Committee to investigate whether the economic justification for HS2 has sufficiently taken into account the impact of the proposed route on those businesses which have a significant wider national role and importance.

May 2011

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Prepared 8 November 2011