A NEW report published by HS2 Limited today sets out its vision for local economies to benefit from the high speed rail project – including a hub in Stafford.
In his report ‘Changing Britain: HS2 taking root’, Sir David Higgins, Chairman of HS2 Limited, said “the commitment to the link between the HS2 line and the West Coast Main Line at Handsacre will also provide the opportunity to broaden the economic benefits of HS2.”
Confirmation of the construction of the Handsacre Link to allow HS2 compatible trains to serve Stafford and neighbouring authorities was welcomed by the Leader of Staffordshire County Council Philip Atkins – but he said the council also remained focused on securing the best mitigation for the county and its residents.
Philip said: “From the outset we have pledged to make sure the voice of Staffordshire and its people is heard and have been determined to get the best deal in terms of mitigation of the impact, timely compensation for those affected and a share of any economic benefits.
“The Handsacre Link will ensure not only people in Stafford, but hundreds of thousands of people across wider Staffordshire, the Black Country, Shropshire and Stoke-on-Trent can share in both swifter journeys and economic opportunities.
Once built, HS2 will run through 45 miles of Staffordshire and we will continue to work with communities, HS2 Limited and the Department for Transport to mitigate the impact during construction and operation and get the best result we can for Staffordshire people.”
The county council is also working with partner authorities and playing a key role in both the Northern Gateway Development Zone and Midlands Connect to help shape strategic transport priorities across the regions.
HS2 Limited is currently consulting on the environmental impact of the proposed route of Phase 2a – which runs from the Midlands to Crewe. This closes on November 7.
Philip added: “In the first phase we succeeded in getting 8km of the route lowered in Lichfield, significantly reducing the impact locally, and while we are currently preparing our response on Phase 2a, it is important the local people find out more about HS2 and take this opportunity to have their say.”