HS2 Phase 2 Statement
A statement from South Cheshire Chamber
South Cheshire Chamber of Commerce has urged the Government to press on with HS2 Phase 2 saying a decision to scrap the project now would be ‘disastrous’ for the area.
The Chamber has backed High Speed rail since day one and remains a firm believer in the economic benefits it would bring to South Cheshire and neighbouring communities.
It says HS2 Phase 2 is a ‘once in a generation opportunity’ to level up and deliver benefits to South Cheshire and the north as a whole.
As a leading member of the British Chamber of Commerce it has appealed to PM Rishi Sunak to stay on track with the northern leg from Birmingham to Manchester with a hub station at Crewe.
And South Cheshire Chamber Chief Executive Paul Colman is today meeting with Chamber of Commerce leaders in Birmingham and Greater Manchester to formulate a coordinated response.
He says: “For years now high speed rail has been hailed the economic saviour of Crewe and surrounding towns. Businesses have been keen to relocate to South Cheshire and already we are seeing the benefits of inward investment.
“With speculation now mounting over the project being scrapped, we’re concerned that interest will quickly dry up.
“That will be disastrous for our local area, depriving generations to come of job opportunities and improved life chances.
“The environmental impact will also be immense as HS2 has always been more than super-fast travel to London.
“What’s key to us locally is capacity on the West Coast Main Line and creating a greener, more sustainable way to travel. HS2 delivers that by freeing up space on the busiest mixed use railway in Europe allowing for more freight to shift from road to rail, reducing carbon emissions.
“With less overcrowding there will be the opportunity to introduce more regional and commuter trains, making train travel more accessible, cheaper and convenient for all.”
South Cheshire Chamber says criticism over the project’s cost is 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
Mr Colman added: “Business confidence has grown on the back of HS2 coming to our area and this lack of clarity is damaging.
“Scrapping the project now, when it’s 40% complete, is nonsensical and puts thousands of new jobs at risk.
“Meanwhile demand on the West Coast main line is going in one direction only – up - and we need to feel the pain now to achieve long-term gain.”
The Chamber’s Business Council, made up of the area’s largest local employers has been at the forefront of a campaign to secure Crewe’s future as a high speed rail hub.
Various protests have been made to occupants of Number 10 to ensure the project stays on track.
South Cheshire Chamber and other stakeholders such as the LEP and Cheshire East were overjoyed when in 2021 High Speed 2 (HS2) Phase 2a Bill received Royal Ascent giving the go-ahead to works on the stretch between Birmingham and Crewe.