Staffordshire County Council has vowed to continue to work on getting the best deal for Staffordshire, after the Prime Minister gave HS2 the green light.
Boris Johnson said Phase One and Phase 2a, which will run from the Midlands to Crewe, will go ahead, and that Phase 2b should be considered as part of a wider integrated High Speed North rail plan.
The Prime Minister also gave his backing to the operation of the Handsacre Link, which will allow both Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent and wider areas to benefit from HS2 compatible trains via Stafford.
Following today’s announcement Philip Atkins, Leader of Staffordshire County Council, said:
HS2 will cut through 45 miles of Staffordshire and from the outset we have championed the cause of our county and our communities in terms of securing meaningful mitigation and compensation.
We have also made it clear that Staffordshire must share in the economic benefits and improved connectivity by securing the Handsacre Link as part of Phase One, which will allow both Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent to access HS2 compatible trains as well as improving connectivity to the North and South.
Any proposal to discontinue the planned link would be unacceptable, so I am pleased that the Prime Minister has given his personal backing to Handsacre.
With confirmation the high speed rail scheme will now go ahead our priority remains to get the best deal on HS2 and we will be working closely with the newly appointed full time dedicated HS2 Minister to ensure that the Government and HS2 Ltd deliver on their promises to Staffordshire.”
The Oakervee Report on HS2, which was published today, details a number of recommendations, including the potential removal of the Handsacre Link.
However, as the link is included in the Hybrid Bill, which has been given Royal Assent, any changes would need further legislation and would result in further delays. Staffordshire County Council also secured legal assurances that the Handsacre Link will be constructed and operated as part of Phase One.