HS2 was supposed to be Britain’s new high speed rail line built from London to the North-West, with HS2 trains linking the biggest cities in Scotland, Manchester, Birmingham and London.
However, recently Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, formally announced that he has cancelled the planned HS2 rail link from Birmingham to Manchester.
The reasons for the scaling back were that HS2 had overrun its course and the plans as they stood no longer made economic sense, Sunak said, adding: “The facts have changed, and the right thing to do when the facts change is to have the courage to change direction.”
This has proved to be a devastating blow to Crewe, who were involved with HS2 plans for the North West of England. Councillor Sam Corcoran, leader of Cheshire East Council, has named the announcement of HS2’s cancellation as “extremely worrying and disappointing and has significant and far-reaching impacts on the council’s plans, our communities and businesses, and the North as a whole.”
Last week, the leader and deputy leader of Cheshire East Council wrote to the Prime Minister asking for an urgent meeting before any decision was made on HS2. It received no response.
The Conservative MP for Crewe and Nantwich, Dr Kieran Mullan, also expressed his disappointment at the decision for HS2 to only stop at Birmingham, highlighting the missed opportunity.
“Delivering the full route would have placed Crewe at the heart of the new network and I think it would have been transformative for our local economy bringing jobs, investment and opportunities.”
“We have our £22.9 million Crewe Town Deal, £14 million Future High Streets Fund, £5 million for Cheshire College and huge investment for the Leighton Hospital rebuild. However, HS2 would have brought huge amounts of regeneration investment.”
Following the cancellation of HS2, the Prime Minister has now pledged to invest billions of pounds into local rail and road links instead, saying that is was a more appropriate decision in a post-pandemic world
However, Dr Mullan promises the people of Crewe that he will “focus on getting as much as possible of this released investment directed to our area.”