Cheshire East Council has welcomed the latest HS2 report – which outlines the many positive impacts on outlying towns – including Middlewich.
The 56-page report – ‘Changing Britain: HS2 taking root’ – emphasises the huge economic benefits that high-speed rail will deliver to the many large and small towns not directly connected to mainline services.
It flags up the enormous financial and economic impact HS2 will make on the Northern Gateway Development Zone, stretching across mid and south Cheshire and north Staffordshire, including Stoke on Trent and the A500 corridor.
It has the potential to create 100,000 new homes and 120,000 new jobs.
Councillor Rachel Bailey, Leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “This report provides further evidence of the great benefits HS2 will bring to Cheshire East and to the wider region.
“This is not just about Crewe and a hub station, it is about increasing connectivity, growth and benefits for Birmingham, North Wales, Merseyside, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, as well as the Greater Manchester conurbation, including the airport.
“It will also deliver prosperity for towns such as Middlewich, Winsford and Northwich in addition to Chester and Warrington.
“I welcome this report and look forward to the Chancellor’s autumn statement, when we hope he will confirm that Crewe will be the location for a high-speed hub station.”
In his report the chairman of HS2, Sir David Higgins, says: “The creation of the Northern Gateway Zone in Staffordshire and Cheshire, led by the council leaders and LEP chairs, has gained significant momentum over the past months.
“With plans to create 100,000 new homes and 120,000 new jobs, the partnership and its consultants are currently preparing the joint HS2 growth strategy – and early work will articulate the overall vision.
“This will be underpinned by masterplans, including for Crewe, Stoke-on-Trent and Stafford, and the Weaver towns of Winsford, Northwich and Middlewich.
“Crewe already acts as a major interchange on the rail network and Network Rail is working on developing options for a Crewe hub.
“This could also provide opportunities to better connect North Wales and the Mersey-Dee region to London and the South East.”
HS2 is predicted to carry 300,000 passengers per day with significantly- reduced journey times to and from London, while freight services could cut lorry journeys by as many as 800 trucks per day.
As many as 18 high speed trains could operate per hour, increasing overall capacity on the network and opening up the potential for new services to towns not currently benefitting from a direct connection to London.
Cheshire East Council looks forward to working with HS2 Ltd, the Department for Transport and Network Rail, as well as the LEPs and neighbouring authorities to deliver the full benefits of high-speed travel.
The council supports the use of less-congested West Coast Main lines to carry an increased volume of freight, generated by the predicted economic growth resulting from HS2.
HS2 is already forecast to arrive in Crewe in 2027 – some five years sooner than originally planned.