Council leaders demand high-speed rail (HS2) hub for North Staffordshire
CITY and county leaders are travelling to London next week to meet the Transport Secretary to demand a High Speed rail hub next to the M6 in North Staffordshire.
Crewe station is in line to get a £200 million stop on the Birmingham to Manchester leg of the £32.7 billion HS2 rail network – slashing journeys to the capital from one hour 40mins to 58 minutes with at least two high speed trains every hour.
A new HS2 maintenance depot in Crewe will create 300 jobs.
But Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Staffordshire County Council are meeting Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin to call for the new hub to be built instead between junction 15 and 16 of the M6.
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City council deputy leader Paul Shotton said: "That will kill two birds with one stone. It would enable HS2 to be close to Crewe's connectivity but also unlock the benefits for North Staffordshire."
The Sentinel can reveal the city council turned down the chance to submit a joint bid for a HS2 hub with Cheshire East Council.
The Tory-run authority described the city's alternative proposals as a 'non-starter'. It said North Staffordshire's best opportunity to benefit from HS2 is by pressing for an electrified, high speed link from Stoke-on-Trent to the new hub in Crewe.
Leader Michael Jones said: "I've already spoken to the Government and said that Crewe deserves this, but Stoke-on-Trent needs to be part of it."
The proposed route of HS2's second phase cuts through swathes of Staffordshire's countryside – including villages like Swynnerton, Madeley and Betley – but leaves residents with no direct access to the line.
Villagers in Swynnerton are staging a public meeting on Saturday in protest at the proposal.
Stone MP Bill Cash said: "I will be taking every possible action to oppose this."
The Government revealed yesterday that the second phase of HS2 will run north from Birmingham on two branches with new stations at Nottingham, Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester Airport and Manchester Central and pass beneath Crewe in a two-and-a-half mile tunnel.
Some of the 250-mph trains will stop at Crewe to link HS2 to North Wales, Liverpool and Scotland.
Home Secretary Theresa May, who visited Crewe Station to launch the hub plans yesterday, said: "We believe HS2 will generate jobs, re-balance the economy and act as a catalyst for our future prosperity."
The construction of the second phase of HS2 should start in the middle of the next decade, with the line open by 2032.