The local authority has corralled support for the bid. Credit: via Social

Crewe one of six on GBR HQ shortlist

Competition to host the headquarters of the new Great British Railways body is to come from Birmingham, Derby, Doncaster, Newcastle and York.

The shortlisting announcement means disappointment for other regional bidders: Barrow, Bolton, Carlisle, Carnforth, Greater Manchester (with Salford’s 100 Embankment proposed by city mayor Paul Dennett), Heywood, Liverpool City Region (suggesting St Helens’ Parkside) and Preston.

As set out by the Department for Transport, bidding locations were and are to be judged on six criteria: alignment with the levelling up agenda, value for money, railway heritage, opportunities for GBR, connectivity and public support.

Announce as part of the reforming Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail, GBR will replace Network Rail as operator of the nation’s rail infrastructure, and also take over the DfT’s contracting of train operations and timetabling.

Unsurprisingly for a town so inextricably linked with the railways, Crewe was put forward by Cheshire East Council early in the process, with a bid lodged in March.

Cllr Sam Corcoran, leader of Cheshire East Council, said today: “We are absolutely thrilled that Crewe has been shortlisted as one of the locations being seriously considered as the new home for GBR.

“We strongly believe that Crewe is the right and logical choice. Crewe is a rail town through and through, at the heart of the rail network. Crewe has a strong rail heritage and is one of the most connected interchanges in the country, connecting the nation and serving as a gateway for the North.”

Although the square footage required for the GBR base is likely to be fairly small, with only a small number of full-time staff at the site along with meeting facilities, it would provide a good inward investment win for any of the locations in the running.

Crewe’s bid outlines six potential locations for the base: the station itself, new offices to be built on the Weston Road car park as part of the HS2 hub development, Pedley Street car park, Macon Way, Weston Road and the former Total Fitness site on Macon Road.

All are owned either by the council or Network Rail, public ownership being a pre-requisite for the chosen location.

Clare Hayward, chair of Cheshire & Warrington LEP, said: “Securing Crewe as the home for GBR will accelerate the rail-led transformation of the town even further and stimulate further growth, innovation and opportunity across the town and the region which will have a positive impact on everyone across the community.

“Locating the GBR HQ in Crewe would provide a real boost of confidence in the town and would encourage further private sector investment and help provide skilled jobs for the future. We believe that Crewe is the right home for GBR HQ because Crewe is the heart of rail.

“I encourage every business across Cheshire and Warrington to get behind Crewe, show your support Crewe’s bid and vote in the public vote.”

A public vote is now open, and will run until 15 August, with the results helping to inform the government’s final decision, which will be made this summer.

Your Comments

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The value for money criteria is a bit of a joke considering NR already have a huge and recently built headquarters building in Milton Keynes that’s now largely empty.

Such is the way with politicians…

By Fat controller

Good to see Pete Waterman getting involved, always wondered what he was up to these days

By Anonymous

The only way Crewe are going to get this is if they have some tory marginals in the town.

By Anonymous

What a wholly predictable waste of already stretched resources in a pointless bidding process.

By LA

Let’s hope the new home/HQ of the Great British Railways goes to York, it’s a wonderful city and home to the best railway station in the north of England…York gets my vote !

By Drew Steele

Please vote to support Crewe!

By Tatton

Surely it has to be a location on the HS2 line, and that puts Crewe in a strong position.

By Anonymous

I’m thinking because of HS2 either Crewe or Birmingham are more likely to get it, but it really should be in York

By Disgruntled Goat

York is Merrie England, an English version of Edinburgh, all cream teas and riverside pubs. People aren’t going to go to Crewe, when they can go to York.

By Elephant

It will go to Birmingham they have a Tory mayor

By Anonymous

Crewe is a historic rail site and is centrally located to cover several areas within the north

By Jean Bill

Id like to see Crewe get it. This dance for funds though from central government. So unedifying.

By Anonymous

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