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Cheshire and Warrington’s economy could lose £2bn a year if HS2 is cancelled – open letter to Rishi Sunak from council leaders and region’s LEP warns


Council leaders & the LEP have written to PM Rishi Sunak

Cheshire and Warrington’s council leaders and the region’s LEP have written to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak expressing their “deep concern” over the rumoured cancellation of HS2 which could cost the region’s economy an additional £2bn a year.

This comes amid rumours the government will end HS2 at Birmingham scrapping planned further phases – Phase 2a from the Midlands to Crewe and Phase 2b from Crewe to Manchester.

In a letter signed by Councillor Sam Corcoran, Leader of Cheshire East Council; Councillor Craig Browne, Deputy Leader of Cheshire East Council; Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council; Councillor Russ Bowden, Leader of Warrington Borough Council; and Clare Hayward MBE, Chair of Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, partners stress that scrapping HS2 would deprive the region’s economy of around £2 billion per annum (GVA). It reiterates the request to meet with the Prime Minister ahead of any further decisions being made on the scheme, to discuss how Cheshire and Warrington councils and the LEP can ensure they are successfully delivered.

Axing the “once in a generation” HS2 project would mean the region fails to realise the potential HS2 brings to “unlock significant housing, employment and productivity gains”.

And it would have a devastating impact on the region’s jobs market with HS2 set to create 27,000 jobs “in Cheshire and Warrington alone”.

The letter makes it clear that stopping HS2 at Birmingham and scrapping planned further phases would “throw away the opportunities the line offers to grow the economy and level up under-performing parts of the North”.

  • Crewe, due to be home to a new commercial hub surrounding Crewe station “would be particularly badly affected by cancellation or significant delay to HS2” with half of the council wards in Crewe are in the top 10% most deprived in the country.
  • HS2 was “a once in a generation opportunity to level up” Crewe, delivering nearly 5000 new jobs and adding £750 million per annum to the town’s GVA.”
  • In Chester “as a direct consequence of the improved connectivity offered by HS2” Cheshire West and Chester Council has been working with Government owned London & Continental Railways (LCR) on a vision and development framework that will “deliver significant regeneration and development around Chester Station”
  • And Warrington Borough Council is “identifying the opportunities and benefits” for the area around Bank Quay station which comprises 112 hectares and is the 2nd largest project on HS2/ Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) outside of London.
    It would deliver one third of the housing the Borough needs in the next 30 years and deliver in excess of £2bn per annum of direct economic benefits and enable high-speed rail links between Liverpool and Manchester utilising existing latent infrastructure

Urging the government to stick with the HS2 plan the letter warns: “Cancellation of HS2 would have a significant impact on private sector confidence in Cheshire and Warrington and throw away the opportunities the line offers to grow the economy and level up under-performing parts of the North”.

And it concludes: “History has shown time and again that committing to investment in major infrastructure pays dividends. Whilst large-scale projects will always be challenging to deliver, they bring significant long-term economic benefits.  It is essential, therefore, that HS2 and NPR are delivered in full as quickly as possible.”


Read the open letter to Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak Open Letter

DATE ADDED: 9/28/2023 10:38:02 AM