Today’s announcement from government continues to support high-speed rail coming to Cheshire East and highlights continued progress since the decision was made last year.
The key points in today’s announcement includes:
- Government have asked that further consideration of the hub station at Crewe be undertaken. If the government proceeds with this proposal they have decided that it would be located in Crewe;
- They have also asked that further work is undertaken to look at bringing high- speed rail services to Macclesfield;
- Changes to the depot strategy for rolling stock and infrastructure maintenance.
Today’s announcement also outlines the confirmed route for HS2 from Crewe to Manchester Airport.
The council will now work with HS2 to put effective engagement processes in place to ensure that residents’ and businesses’ concerns are heard by government.
Council Leader Rachel Bailey said: “This is the news that we have been working towards over the last five years or more and delivers the message that Cheshire East is truly open for business
“This will support our local communities through the creation of new skills and a further step towards full employment in the borough.
“It presents new learning, educational and training opportunities unequalled since the heydays of railway engineering in and around Crewe.
“But we stress that our support for HS2 is subject to the highest standards of mitigation and compensation for those affected, whilst also securing the maximum connectivity through the proposed hub station.
“The announcement today by the Secretary of State for Transport is welcomed and this council has been supporting the call for high-speed rail since it was first mooted.
“The huge economic benefits to be had from HS2 must be harnessed for our future generations so that the children and young people of today – and their children and grandchildren – can seize the enormous opportunities that HS2 will deliver.
“I have secured the continued support of the secretary of state for our strategy for a Northern Gateway Development Zone to ensure that the expected growth associated with HS2, will help to take families out of poverty, provide wide-ranging social benefits for residents and produce a new generation of skilled young people.
“By building a solid and substantial growth strategy, the Northern Gateway Partnership, with the support of government, is working hard to ensure that mid-Cheshire and partner areas are ready for HS2 by ensuring that the benefits of growth are delivered across the political and regional boundaries.
“I now want to work with partners and government in developing the case for a full hub station at Crewe.”
More detail of phase two of the high-speed rail project was unveiled today, by the secretary of state, in a command paper published by the Department for Transport.
It confirms the intended route of the section known as 2b through the north of the borough and on to Manchester Airport and Manchester.
It also outlines that further work will be undertaken on the hub station and that if they do decide to proceed with it, that it will be located in Crewe.
There will also be a rolling stock depot north of Crewe, creating 400 jobs for the local economy.
HS2 is the biggest infrastructure project since the construction of motorways in the 1960s and 70s and is aimed at increasing capacity on rail and reducing car and truck movements between the north, the Midlands and the south east.
Edward Timpson, MP for Crewe and Nantwich said: “HS2 will open up South Cheshire to international business by providing the extra rail capacity and speed from London that we so badly need. This will only mean more jobs for local people, including at the new rolling stock depot announced today.
“We have the rail skills and service industries here to make HS2 a continued success, both during construction and beyond, and the space and desire to accommodate new industries that want to benefit from this all-important connectivity.
“I have been working very hard in Westminster to make the case for an HS2 hub station at Crewe and to speed up the project. So, to be told that the concept of an integrated hub at Crewe is still being supported, six years earlier than planned, is positive news indeed.”
The spin-off economic benefits from HS2 are predicted to touch every corner of the north Staffordshire and mid-Cheshire sub region including the mid-Cheshire towns of Middlewich, Northwich and Winsford.
Christine Gaskell, chair of the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership and board member of the Northern Gateway Development Zone, said: “The huge economic benefits of HS2 cannot be overstated.
“Evidence from high-speed rail across the world shows that HS2 will bring a huge boost to the Northern Gateway economy. It will deliver new jobs, business opportunities and thousands of homes to the sub-region.
“But benefits of this scale are dependent on having the right hub station solution at Crewe, which sits at the very heart of the national rail network, and delivery of a truly regional rail hub would enable HS2 to play a full role in revitalising the northern economy.
“It will cut journey times to and from London by more than an hour for 1.5 million people across Cheshire, Staffordshire and into North Wales.
Journeys from Crewe to London will take just 55 minutes, 45 minutes quicker than at present and the scheme will also free up capacity on the West Coast Mainline, facilitating more freight movements and taking 800 truck journeys off the road each day.
It will carry an estimated 300,000 passengers per day and is expected to deliver benefits to other destinations in the north of England and North Wales.
Councillor Bailey added: “Cheshire East has long campaigned for this opportunity and now we know for certain that we have succeeded in securing a hub station at Crewe.
“Crewe is a town that desperately needs infrastructure investment on this scale and I am confident that HS2 will transform the economic landscape for Crewe and the wider region.
“However, any celebration is tempered with the knowledge that for some of our residents there will be disruption and the loss of homes and property.
“We are very mindful of this and this council will do everything in its power to ensure that all our residents affected by the construction of HS2 receive the highest standard of compensation.”
HS2 Ltd will be holding regular stakeholder and community engagement events from December onwards and into the new year. Details will be made available on the HS2 website at www.hs2.org.uk and on the Cheshire East Council website at www.cheshireeast.gov.uk