Stoke & Staffordshire

Stoke-on-Trent City Council 'to fight' for HS2 station

High-speed train
Image caption Sir David's report set out recommendations on how to maximise the benefits of HS2

Stoke-on-Trent City Council's leader says he wants to keep fighting to bring a high-speed rail station to the city despite losing out to Crewe.

A recommendation to use Crewe was confirmed in a report by HS2 boss Sir David Higgins on Monday.

A final decision will be made by the government next year.

The Crewe option would be an out-of-town station while Stoke-on-Trent had proposed a city centre station linked to its university quarter.

In his report, which looked at ways of maximising the benefits of HS2, Sir David recommended staying with the proposal to split the HS2 line in two after the London to Birmingham stage is completed.

He said Crewe would be part of a western leg which would run from Birmingham to Manchester. An eastern leg would stretch from Birmingham to Leeds, via the East Midlands and South Yorkshire.

Image copyright HS2 Ltd
Image caption HS2 Ltd chairman David Higgins recommended extending the route to Crewe in his initial report in March

Making Crewe a north-west England hub for HS2, Sir David said was the "best way to serve not just the local region, but also provide services into the rest of the North West, north Wales and Merseyside".

The publication of his report led to Prime Minister David Cameron giving the green light to plans for a new high-speed "HS3" rail link to improve east-west rail journeys in the north of England.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council Labour leader Mohammed Pervez, who had said the Stoke route would generate about £200m extra growth for the regional economy, told BBC News he hoped the authority could influence the government to choose the city.

"It's important to note, this is still just a proposal by Sir David Higgins," he said.

"Our fight will be with the government to ensure they are listening to us, they understand the consequences of their decision on the economy of Stoke-on-Trent and north Staffordshire and... I hope the government will come up with a series of measures that will address those concerns."

Image copyright Stoke-on-Trent City Council
Image caption Stoke-on-Trent councillors said running the line through the city would deliver benefits to more people

Construction of HS2 is due to start in 2017, with phase one from London to Birmingham due to be completed by 2026.

Michael Jones, Conservative leader of Cheshire East Council, said that Stoke-on-Trent and his authority should now work together to make the most of the project.

"I don't see it as a victory [over Stoke-on-Trent] like that," he said.

"I think our plans always included Stoke and I hope they understand that we all need to work together now to get the best."

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