Councillors have defended Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s decision to spend up to £1m to get a new station for the city on the planned High Speed 2 railway line.
They agreed to increase their spending by an extra £800,000 on their campaign to get a new station for the HS2 line – despite plans in place already for a station at Crewe.
The current plans for HS2 involve 33 miles of new high speed railway being built across the Staffordshire countryside.
The project chairman Sir David Higgins has called for the £50 billion high speed railway to be brought to Crewe six years earlier than originally planned, with the town becoming a major regional transport hub.
The government’s preferred route for the second phase of the line includes a spur junction to Crewe, but not Stoke.
Cllr Jack Brereton, one of the leaders of the campaign to get a station for Stoke-on-Trent and deputy leader of the Conservative group, said it is vital the city gets a link to the line.
He said: “We’ve got so much to lose – all the businesses that will be impacted and with investments being diverted away from Stoke-on-Trent with investors not wanting to invest because we don’t have the best transport connections.
“It’s going to mean a massive impact if we don’t get a station.
“The station doesn’t just serve the city it serves the wider areas – a million people, more or less, access our rail service – compared to Crewe who is a small town, really.
“We need to be the city that’s got good transport connectivity.
“Nothing has been done by the secretary of state or department of transport yet about whether Crewe should have the station, this is just the individual opinion of the chief executive of HS2.
“But no decision has been made yet as to whether Crewe or Stoke should be the hub-station, or whether either of them will be.”
The report, compiled by accountancy firm KPMG, estimates that Stoke-on-Trent will be £80 million a year worse off if the city doesn’t receive an HS2 station.
StaffsLive reporter Sarah Harrison spoke to people on the streets of Stoke-on-Trent. Click below to listen to their views.