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HS2 station in Stoke could aid economic rebalancing

Stoke-on-Trent’s proposed route and station for HS2 could help to rebalance the north and south economies, council leaders have suggested.

The city has submitted plans to the government’s consultation on the route between Birmingham and Manchester detailing a high speed station that could double the size of Stoke’s economy and provide wider connectivity benefits across the whole region.

The proposed route, which would go along the upgraded West Coast Main Line from Stone to Manchester, could save up to £5bn from the costs of the project and allow trains to run through to Manchester up to seven years earlier, the council claims.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council leader Mohammed Pervez said: “The central challenge laid down by the HS2 Taskforce is to use the enhanced connectivity which high speed rail offers to help rebalance the economy by dramatically shortening the distance between suppliers and regional, national and international markets. 

“We know that our proposal will do that, but it will also go much further. Creating an international high speed rail station in Stoke-on-Trent is an important step in terms of national economic rebalancing because of our city’s strategic position and its vast potential for expansion.”

A recent Centre for Cities report has highlighted the disparity between London and the regions.

Pervez said: “The report makes it clear that high speed rail on its own will not be enough to enable the Midlands and the North to compete on equal terms with London for the fruits of economic recovery.

“However, I believe that our proposals for an international high speed rail interchange connecting us to Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool will put Stoke-on-Trent at the centre of a powerful economic super-region which can begin to counter London’s inexorable pull on resources, jobs and talent.

“We are determined to put Stoke-on-Trent at the heart of a rebalanced UK economy. Our vision for a high speed rail line into the city, with an international station here in Stoke-on-Trent, is truly game-changing.

hs2 middle

“HS2 needs to serve the regional economies, not bypass them. The improved regional, national and international connectivity will supercharge economic growth in our city and the wider region.

“The resulting inward investment and expansion will enable Stoke-on-Trent to capitalise on the growing momentum of innovation and improvement to claim our rightful place as an independent, forward-looking and prosperous city.”

Cities Outlook author and Centre for Cities senior economist Paul Swinneyadded: “Successful city centres attract knowledge-intensive services and businesses, such as those in software design, law and finance, because these businesses benefit from the proximity to clients, competitors and collaborators that a city centre can provide.

“Globalisation means that the UK economy is increasingly likely to specialise in these industries. This means that city centre economies are likely to become ever more important to the success of the national economy.

“For this reason public investment should aim to improve the ability of city centres like Stoke-on-Trent’s to attract businesses and to grow. This investment should focus not only on buildings, but also on transport connections, digital infrastructure, and the skills of the local workforce.

“The building of any new rail stations to serve a city, therefore, should ideally be located within, or as close as is practicably possible, to city centres. Improving the connectivity of our city centres is an important element of making them good locations to do business.”

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Greg   14/02/2014 at 14:04

This is a complete fantasy by Stoke city council. They ignore the fact that Crewe is the most important railway junction in the North West, also their plan has no connection to Manchester airport. They also wrongly think a high speed rail line could be built on the existing 1848 track alignment. This plan will not happen. The best that can be argued for is a spur from the HS2 line near Stafford onto the existing 'classic' network.

Mikeb   14/02/2014 at 17:06

So, Mr Perez would like to see an international interchange connecting Stoke to Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool. As there is no actual plan for a high speed line into Liverpool, any proposed service to/from Stoke (there isn't a direct service at present) would probably only be marginally faster than via the current interchange at Crewe.

Jb   14/02/2014 at 19:03

Would somebody please list all the businesses which would like to locate at Stoke-on-Trent (or anywhere else on an HS2 route for that matter) which would justify this scheme. I doubt that the list would be very long. The present trains are fast enough already for me (I can't read the station names as they pass now) and the money would be better spent filling in the gaps left in the 'classic' system after Beeching; also restoring the freight facilities at stations large and small to relieve our crowded roads.

Ricp   18/02/2014 at 01:14

The more I read about HS2, the more I question its viability. It is just a fundamentally flawed set of proposals that is very costly and may not deliver.

Notts Man   25/02/2014 at 21:13

Is that first picture supposed to be a railway station? It looks more like a tennis racket to me.

Retired Train Planner   09/03/2014 at 20:13

As usual the amateurs are shouting the loudest. They use the phrase ' international interchange' as though we would change at Stoke for all points in Europe which is as farcical as it is untrue. The whole HS2 project cannot be viewed as international as there are no connectional points with the Channel tunnel services at all, and there are no plans for there to be any. You will have to walk to St Pancras as you currently do now to join International services, so let us drop all this nonsense of Stoke or anywhere else on HS1/2 being an international interchange, this purely politcal hype

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