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15.10.14

Stoke pushes hard on HS2 re-routing

Stoke-on-Trent has presented a business case to the government today, urging them to include a station at Stoke in the HS2 plans.

Community and business leaders claim they have a “compelling” argument for the route to change. Their document has been produced by various specialists including economic consultants Volterra, which sits on HS2 Ltd’s Economics Advisory Committee.

The route for the second phase of the high speed line currently runs through Crewe, but Stoke-on-Trent City Council believes their alternative route is greener, cheaper and will deliver benefits to more people.

David Frost, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership chairman, said: "We have to get maximum value from any infrastructure investment and something this big is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the UK economy. The Stoke Route connects up cities and delivers the maximum economic impact.

"The city has the development-ready brownfield capacity to maximise the benefits of HS2 and avoids the costs of carving up the countryside.

"Routing HS2 via Stoke-on-Trent delivers equivalent or faster journey times than the alternatives. It connects up more people earlier. It delivers more impact for less cost for the tax payer. Stoke-on-Trent provides the best option for HS2."

Stoke council leader Mohammed Pervez said the Stoke route would generate about £200m extra growth for the regional economy, and emphasised the Crewe would not lose out.

"In contrast, the emerging Crewe scheme would generate much smaller gains and isolate the city economy. It could even have a net negative impact on the regional economy,” he added.


A video outlining the business case for the HS2 Stoke route. 

The current Crewe option is for an out-of-town station to be built while Stoke-on-Trent is proposing a city centre station linking up to its university quarter.

Cheshire East Council leader Michael Jones disagreed with the Stoke plans and said having the HS2 hub station at Crewe made sense.

"Crewe is the gateway to the north, south east and west and has the 360 degree connectivity needed for such a major project," he said.

"We have always urged Stoke to work with us to ensure that the region benefits as a whole from the £1.5 billion worth of inward investment that would follow and we stand by this.

"Work with us, we say, and not against us and Stoke will benefit too."

RTM previously reported on a report from Greenguage 21 that said the ideal solution would be for both cities to be included in the HS2 route.

Jim Steer, director of Greengauge 21, said: “Our report sets out the opportunity to serve both Stoke-on-Trent and Stafford with a regular direct HS2 service, while protecting the wide set of benefits from accelerated development of the HS2 route to Crewe. It is not a case of one or the other of Stoke or Crewe but both.”

HS2 Ltd chairman David Higgins is due to make his recommendations on 27 October before MPs make a decision.

Meanwhile, supporters of Liverpool’s bid to have HS2 extended to Merseyside were also in London today.

They are scheduled to meet with transport minister Baroness Kramer to present her with a new independent Economic Benefits Study, showing why HS2 should extend to Liverpool.

The document explains how the move would improve the region, including an £8.3bn boost to the regional economy, 14,000 new jobs, 20,000 more people wanting homes there and 723,000 additional annual visitors.

Campaign leaders are also expected to stress how the HS2 link would be part of the £15bn One North programme to maximise economic growth across the north, boosting transport links and helping rebalance the national economy.

One North would include new trains running on a dedicated 125mph trans-Pennine rail-link.

Robert Hough, Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership chair, will state the business and economic case. He told the Liverpool Echo: “The Study demonstrates that there will be significant benefits not only to the City Region but to the overall UK economy by fully including Liverpool in HS2 and One North plans.

“We have been making this point for some time now and will press the message home today. The Northern powerhouse needs Liverpool, the third largest economy of the North, to be fully integrated with the other great cities.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Comments

Notts Railman   17/10/2014 at 18:45

Is that picture supposed to be some sort of impression of an HS2 station for Stoke? It looks like a tennis racket!

Chris Robertson   17/10/2014 at 22:14

Routing HS2 via the regeneration opportunity at Stoke is indeed a no-brainer. However, it is also doomed not to happen. From the moment that routing into Manchester Airport was in the frame, so also has been routing the new line through the 'millionaire belt' of Alderley Edge. Commitment to an on-line station at Crewe (and so keeping well to the west and north of Alderley) has for some while been East Cheshire's accepted precondition for not raising objections to HS2's plans to transit the county.

Neil Palmer   21/10/2014 at 03:41

Notts - I thought electric banjo.

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