Stoke-on-Trent proposes HS2 city centre railway station

image captionThe route of phases 1 & 2 of the proposed HS2 rail service linking London Manchester and Leeds

Stoke-on-Trent is to bid for an HS2 railway station in its city centre if a council proposal gains support.

The government's preferred route for the second phase of the £32bn line linking Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds includes a spur junction at Crewe, but no stop at Stoke-on-Trent.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council's leader Mohammed Pervez said the line would be a "once in a lifetime opportunity".

Objectors fear the route will disrupt communities and devalue homes.

Mr Pervez said the proposed station would put Stoke-on-Trent within 55 minutes of London and "would supercharge the local economy and generate tens of thousands of jobs".

Current proposals for the £50bn HS2 project would allow trains to run at 225 mph (362km/h) from London to Birmingham from 2026, with branches to Manchester and to Leeds via Sheffield planned by 2032.

The government's proposed route would go through Hixon, Madeley, Weeford and Whitmore Heath and would require the demolition of about 15 properties in South Cheshire and almost 20 through Staffordshire.

'Ready for growth'

Conservative vice-chairman Michael Fabricant, whose Lichfield constituency lies on the proposed route, said it "blights the environment, homes and lives."

The council's alternative proposition would follow the West Coast Mainline north of Stone, avoiding villages like Swynnerton and Madeley, and would include a station near the A500.

Sim Harris, editor of Rail News, said: "Any suggestion that we use part of the existing west coast mainline to me sounds suspiciously like a third-rate result.

"In the long term I feel we would regret it."

Mr Pervez said: "The government's own advisors clearly point out the huge negative impact on Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire's economy if their current proposals go ahead.

"This cannot be allowed to happen to the UK's 13th biggest city, a city that is ready to absorb the growth the country needs."

Neighbouring Derbyshire County Council said the uncertainty of the HS2 route was displacing jobs and having a "severe" impact on job creation.

The proposals will be debated at a council meeting later and need to be submitted to the Department for Transport before 31 January.

The final decision on the second phase of the HS2 route is due to be taken later this year.

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