North Staffordshire business leaders call for HS2 station

Jane Gratton Jane Gratton told BBC's Sunday Politics show an HS2 station would attract businesses to Staffordshire

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Business leaders in North Staffordshire have said they are confident they can convince the government to build a station in the area on the HS2 line.

The route for the second phase of the £32bn high speed railway was announced last week.

The plans would see the line run through rural parts of Staffordshire and linking up with the existing station in Crewe, south Cheshire.

Local politicians said Staffordshire would get the "pain without the gain".

According to the government HS2 will help deliver increased capacity on the railway network as well as jobs and growth in the UK economy.

Speaking to the Sunday Politics show in the West Midlands, Jane Gratton, from the North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce said the proposed route failed to take into account of future population growth .

The second phase of HS2, from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds, is not due to completed until 2032.

Ms Gratton said: "I don't think you can get the economic benefits with the spur off at Crewe as you would with a hub station in North Staffordshire itself."

'Economic benefits'

Business and political leaders from Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire are due to meet with Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin on Thursday.

Ms Gratton said she believed there was good chance of convincing him of the strength of their plan, which would lead to greater investment in the area.

"Our business case shows there are real economic benefits and transport benefits," she said.

Stoke-on-Trent City council has said it will also continue to lobby for station near junction 16 of the M6, which it said would benefit more people and businesses and link up better with the existing transport network, than the proposed station at Crewe.

Public meeting against HS2 in Swynnerton Hundreds of people attended public meetings against HS2 in Swynnerton and Madeley

West Midlands Labour MEP Michael Cashman said north Staffordshire had been overlooked for decades.

Conservative MP for Meriden Caroline Spelman said a station would offer North Staffordshire a chance to share in "the gain" as well as "the pain".

Last week local backbench MPs from a range of parties stood up in the House of Commons to voice their criticism over the proposed route.

On Saturday hundreds of people attended public meetings in Swynnerton and Madeley, organised by Conservative MP Bill Cash.

He said he would do all he could to oppose he planned route.

"It's very disturbing to people to find you're living in an environment that is a quiet, tranquil landscape and then suddenly you're faced with this enormous intrusion and all the uncertainty that goes with it," he said.

The government said a full consultation would take place and a generous compensation package would be in offered for homeowners directly affected.

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