HS2 Phase 2 Cancellation Statement
A statement from South Cheshire Chamber
South Cheshire Chamber of Commerce has blasted the Government’s decision to scrap the HS2 northern leg from Birmingham to Manchester calling it an ‘utter disgrace’ for the region and the North.
Paul Colman, Chief Executive, said it was a ‘devastating blow’ in particular for Crewe and Nantwich where so much was hinging on the economic boost high speed rail would deliver during the project construction and in future years when up and running.
He said: “Businesses have been keen to relocate to South Cheshire on the back of HS2. Despite the project delays, business confidence was at an all-time high. Now that is shattered.
“We know our business community will dig deep and show its resilience as it did in the pandemic years but today its reeling from being let down once again.
“HS2 was hailed the saviour of Crewe, a town built on a Victorian railway infrastructure and still the centre of the railway network.
“With the prospect of high speed rail came the promise of a state-of-the-art HS2 station at Crewe, creating a new era of modern rail travel. Now that hope has been dashed too.
“Today we feel extremely let down and disappointed for all of South Cheshire. For the businesses that can no longer plan and for the local people of Crewe and Nantwich who had been looking forward to regeneration and prosperity.
“They have been robbed of job opportunities and improved life chances.”
Mr Colman has met with counterparts throughout the country and our national body British Chambers of Commerce to voice their anger.
And today South Cheshire Chamber of Commerce is taking part in a wider protest as a leading member of the British Chamber of Commerce.
He added: “HS2 has always been more than super-fast travel to London. It was about freeing up capacity on the West Coast Main line which is notorious for over-crowding while creating a greener, more sustainable travel alternative.
“After being debated for more than a decade, and delayed several times, we can only hope the Government has a concrete plan lined up to improve the current railway infrastructure making rail travel across our country cheaper and more reliable.
“Meanwhile South Cheshire will look at ways of picking itself up. There has been considerable inward investment on the back of HS2 and we are desperate for that not to dry up.”
The Chamber of Commerce will meet with the area’s largest employers to formulate a plan to ensure South Cheshire remains an attractive place to invest.
They hope to build on the area’s excellent motorway links, leafy quality of life and workforce including many who have honed skills in railway and motor vehicle manufacturing industries as well as an emerging flow of creatives ready to take on new technologies.
A talent pool, the Chamber says, is worth every penny spent on staying on track with plans to relocate or establish commercial interests in South Cheshire.
We also featured in the British Chambers of Commerce's response to the HS2 Phase 2 cancellation. Read it here.
South Cheshire Chamber says criticism over the project’s cost would have been outweighed by benefits including:
- A new commercial hub surrounding Crewe station is expected to create 37,000 jobs and 7,000 new homes by 2043
- HS2 provides confidence and certainty in the UK economy with local investment already happening in Crewe, Manchester and Birmingham
- HS2 provides a once in a lifetime opportunity to level up and rid the country of a London centric economy
- Large scale infrastructure drives long term productivity and economic growth as seen in other countries