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
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
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.