Cheshire East presses on with HS2 vision

Cheshire East Council’s draft Crewe HS2 masterplan is due to go out to consultation later this month, outlining how the town can maximise on the impact of the HS2 hub station by building 3.5m sq ft of commercial space and 7,000 additional homes by 2043.

The document provides a strategic framework, showing how current regeneration plans for Crewe could be built on through future development, investment and infrastructure.

If approved, the vision will be used to develop detailed plans and investment policies, focusing on development from the town centre to the areas around the existing station.

The draft masterplan vision is based on the Government deciding to deliver both enhanced rail infrastructure and a hub station at Crewe capable of serving up to seven stopping high-speed HS2 trains each hour, with direct services to Manchester, Birmingham and London.

The draft masterplan would look to create a commercial hub around the station housing more than 3.5m sq ft of commercial floorspace and deliver an additional 7,000 homes, above existing plans, by 2043.

Cheshire East Council leader, Cllr Rachel Bailey, said: “The arrival of HS2 at Crewe by 2027 provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to deliver nationally significant transformational economic growth and regeneration – not only to Crewe, but the whole of the sub-region.

“An enhanced Crewe hub station would be the catalyst to deliver this growth, jobs and investment opportunities for Crewe and our partner councils and LEPs in the Constellation Partnership and the wider Midlands and North Wales regions.

“A fully-connected HS2 Crewe hub is a key aim of this council in order to maximise the enormous economic benefits this project will deliver to the whole sub-region and beyond. It reflects a plan-led approach to growth for Cheshire East and our partners.

“But Crewe needs to be HS2 ready. These huge potential benefits can only be delivered with the right masterplan framework in place for Crewe before the arrival of HS2. That is why we have produced this draft masterplan vision document which will undergo full public consultation.

“I would also reiterate that we wish to see the highest standards of mitigation and compensation for those people and businesses affected by the HS2 route.

“We will continue to press for a strategic hub station at Crewe, served by increased HS2 services to and from London, Birmingham and Manchester, that will benefit from the station’s unrivalled 360-degree connectivity. In this way the economic benefits could then reach far beyond the traditional political and regional boundaries.”

The draft masterplan vision seeks to develop two complementary and linked centres, with development around the HS2 hub station focused on employment and Crewe town centre regenerated as the cultural, retail and leisure focus for Crewe and the wider area.

The six-week consultation will be launched later this month, following unanimous approval by Cheshire East Council’s cabinet yesterday, and will be the first phase of the consultation process. The draft masterplan vision will also be shared with key stakeholder groups for their feedback and comments.

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This is excellent news. Having a station like this and the increased capacity HS2 will bring will allow thousands of people who currently work locally but want to work in London and can’t afford expensive housing to commute there every day.

By Andrew

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