Sir Robert McAlpine last used the site that HS2 wants to utilise as a temporary compound. Credit: Google Earth

HS2 gears up for work on Crewe-Manchester leg

Plans have been submitted for a temporary compound near Knutsford to assist those carrying out ground investigation works for phase 2b of the high-speed rail scheme.

If Cheshire East approves the proposals, HS2 would take over a site last used by Sir Robert McAlpine as a construction compound and materials storage area during the M6 Junction 19 improvement project.

The site in question is nearly 2.5 acres and sits off Old Hall Lane. It is located within the Green Belt.

Under HS2’s plans, there would be dozens of portable office cabins and logging store cabins, as well as refrigeration units, two canteens and a series of drying rooms and toilet blocks.

HS2 would retain the 90 car parking spaces already set up on the site by Sir Robert McAlpine.

The compound would be used for up to three years, according to HS2. When the rail company is finished with the site, it would reseed the land for agricultural use.

Atkins is the planning consultant for the project. The firm also provided transport, design, ecological impact, noise, air quality, and landscape consultancy services. AB Heritage is the heritage consultant.

The planning reference number with Cheshire East Council is 22/3077M.

During the three years that the compound would be in use, it would help provide a base for those carrying out site investigations and surveys along the Crewe-Manchester route. Construction on that route is meant to start in early 2027 and complete in late 2033.

Already, however, it has proven contentious. Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester Combined Authority have submitted formal petitions against the current 2b leg proposals, which call for an above-ground Piccadilly station in Manchester.

Cheshire East Council has also objected to the current plans. The council wants an enhanced HS2 station for Crewe and for more mitigation work to be done to limit the impact HS2 can have on the environment and local transport network.

The temporary compound is not the only action HS2 has undertaken to move forward with its plans for the Crewe-Manchester route. Earlier this year, HS2 acquired the Square One site off Travis Street in Manchester from Bruntwood.

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Wow, this really is happening then. Sounds like the cranes will be hitting Manchester soon. I wonder will the tunnelling machine be too as it has in Euston?

By Dan

This nonsense has to stop.

By Anon

Labour could be in government in the next few years and the whole phase of the project could change so we get full NPR and HS2 working in tandem.

By Anonymous


By Levelling Up Manager

Piccadilly HAS to be underground and link in with NPR across cities in the North. Long term economic vision has to trump saving a few quid.

By Mark

Oh I think we all want to see an underground Piccadilly acting as a proper hub connecting right across the north. Regardless however of what government gets into power I just can’t see it happening. BTW, Anon 0837…it’s not going to stop, that train has already left the station.

By Anonymous

Britain badly needs more reservoirs and linking pipelines as the weather becomes hotter and rainfall less.
Britain badly needs more hospitals and schools and improvement to the existing ones.
Instead, over £110 Billion of public money is
being wasted on HS2, a railway that will benefit very few people and will save very little travel time. Many economists also regard it as having negative benefit.

By Alan

Depends which economists you choose to listen to. Many others say it will make a massive difference just as the original railways did. Personally I’d rather it started linking the north east to west and into the midlands but it’s already well underway and it’s not going to stop now.

By Realist

Never gonna happen

By Dan

Britain will always need more hospitals and hospitals are always being built. It’s not an either or choice. We also need transport links, houses, offices and jobs.

By Anonymous

Bad take on water vs HS2 – government was well able direct water companies on reservoirs. Regulated returns are based on their asset/capital bases so water companies actually like the idea on big capital projects, but that also means higher water bills – OfWat have made a set of quasi- political judgments on the size of water bills over the years that don’t look great in retrospect.

By Rich X

What’s never gonna happen Dan?. Read the news it already happening!

By Anonymous

Hmmm..Never gonna happen…in the same way no more offices are needed so won’t be built, and the earth is most definitely flat!

By Rod

The railway planners are to blame for this or was it Adonis who insisted that HS2 goes right into city centres, we could have had out of centre hub through-stations , such as Avignon or Lyon , allowing people to get there by car ( drop-off or park) or quality public transport, in that way the costs could have been lower without the need for so much tunnelling. Nearly all our major city stations require people to make journeys into city centres from outer areas so going to an out of centre hub station would hardly make a difference.

By Anonymous

Further destruction of the environment and peoples businesses for a white elephant railway nobody wants and less than 3 percent of the population will use. Scrap HS2;and use the money to build nuclear power stations

By Nightwtchman

There is no need for the Manchester tunnel that will blight thousands of homes in South Manchester, and have a very negative effect on the economy. Just run HS2 on existing tracks from Manchester Airport to Manchester. This will save 400 million and will eliminate the need for an underground station or an ugly viaduct from Ardwick. Why will nobody say how much it will cost to travel on HS2 and what percentage of the public will use it It will be an elitist form of transport for MPs ( no wonder they vote for it) and footballers Everyone else will use a downgrades west coast mainline service

By Anonymous

Who are they kidding the way the country is going ATM

By Anonymous

Keep dreaming ..

By Anonymous

HS2 must stop at Birmingham to prevent any further drain on the public purse. Obviously construction lobbyists and vested interests by the financiers, including the “pet project” egotists, are eager to throw good money after bad! OUR money!!

By Keith

Andy Burnham has said previously that he would prefer NPR in full before HS2 phase 2, so if Liz Truss does become PM she is on record as saying NPR would be built, so lets halt HS2 at Brum and get NPR built so all the North benefits.

By Anonymous

It’s funny how some people think all of that planning and investment can be just turned off…or maybe it’s just wishful thinking? Sorry to disappoint, keep watching the news, it’s well on the way whether ‘those people’ like it or not. Of course it could be improved, the underground solution at Piccadilly for instance, a solution for parts of Yorkshire …but stop? Oh no, it’s simply howling at the moon to think otherwise.

By Anonymous

HS2 north won’t happen? really? and what would happen to the government that dared cancel it to the north? It’s got buy in from all northern leaders from all parties that matter. Some people really do need to improve their news sources or this site may not be for you.

By Anonymous

Network Rail are to upgraded the WCML from Crewe to Preston. It will be near equal to HS2 times to Scotland. After the HS2 Goldborne Link cancellation, Scots trains now run onto the WCML from HS2 at Crewe.

There is no way billions will be spent on HS2 serving just one provincial city, Manchester.

Expect HS2 phase 2b to be dropped.

By John

The twin 15.8 km HS2 tunnels south of Wendover in Buckinghamshire currently being finished off, will hold about 2 billion litres of water, with no evaporation. It is well worth doing this, as we are desperately short of water reservoirs.

HS2 track emerging from the tunnel from Old Oak Common at Colne Valley, can run onto an upgraded Chiltern Line at Colne Valley just before Denham, eliminating the viaduct across the Valley. London to Birmingham journey times will then be similar to HS2 times. And we get a vital reservoir quickly.

By John

Which economists say it will make a massive difference? I have not heard one say that in 10 years.

By John

Thanks for your valuable insight John re HS2 2b being cancelled. Wishful thinking does not an argument make. The rest of us have to live in reality however. Things may alter they always do on big projects but HS2 2b is coming north and it will be coming to Manchester. Sorry that’s reality like it or not.

By Anonymous

A Tory government would simply not allow NPR to be delivered in full, or before HS2 Phase 2b, as they know that it would detract investment away from London and the South east, which traditionally, and even to this present day this country is centered around. The UK must be 1 in only a select few nations that still puts it’s capital on a pedestal above all it’s other cities. I believe a Labour or Lib Dem government would fully support the delivery of NPR in full – personally I am manifesting Liz Truss winning the leadership vote and kickstarting the process of delivering NPR in full by sticking to her word of reversing Johnson’s decision. I then wish for the Tories to lose the next election to Labour who commit to delivering a full NPR package, even if that means delaying HS2 Phase 2b to Manchester. Then Manchester will truly become ‘the London of the North’.

By Verticality

John, how have you missed the economic argument over the past 10 yrs? It’s been discussed and debated ad nauseam on just about every credible news outlet both the pros and the cons. What you mean is you don’t agree with the pro’s which is a viewpoint many would share and you’d like it not to happen. That’s a very different debate than to say no economists agree or there will be no economic benefit. You might convince them to change it ie go somewhere it’s currently not going like Leeds or Liverpool …that’s being discussed now, but stop it ? Good luck with that !

By Realist

Get onto solid earth. The BCR is NEGATIVE for HS2. About £0.60 for ever £1 spent.
HS2 brings nothing new, just paralleling existing fast lines, which is upgraded can near match HS2.

NPR is vital. HS2? Please!

By John

To those who think HMG will spend many billion on a line to one provincial city (phase 2B) they better get on real round earth, and off the flat one.

▪️Phase 2b is way off, with design not finalised for the Manchester end.
▪️No private funding for the Ringway airport station is there – and looks like not coming.
▪️No Manchester MP voted for phase 2B.
▪️WCML upgrades from Crewe to Preston ~equal HS2 times to Scotland.
▪️Manchester already has its own direct line to Crewe (needs some upgrading), which will near match HS2 times.

By John

HS2 makes it quicker for Londoners to get home. NPR makes it quicker for Northerners to get home. End of

By Manchatten

Read the room John. The points you raise may be right, they may be wrong . That doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen. What is it you fail to grasp? It’s already happening. Reality may hurt but as as many articles on PNW amongst others show, it’s going ahead. If you don’t believe it perhaps this site isn’t for you?

By Realist

There is an excellent YouTube video from the B1M that outlines some of the the challenges and issues bringing the next phase of HS2 North. Long and the short of it is it’s not going to get any cheaper but it’s definitely happening.

By Tom

They should’ve started in the north and built down. Too late now. Bring it on , bring it North, bring it home!

By North by Northwest

I saw that B1 documentary, it was excellent. There is a good video on there all about the Manchester building boom too.

By Anonymous

@Tom wrote:
“Long and the short of it is it’s not going to get any cheaper but it’s definitely happening.”

I watched the B1M Youtube video. They missed a lot.

Dropped from Hs2:
▪️Continental Link
▪️Heathrow Link
▪️Most of the eastern leg
▪️Goldborne Link (WCML link to Scotland)
▪️Maybe Ringway station as no private funding will touch the station.

Phase 2b, the long and circuitous Crewe to Manchester leg, via gold plated tunnel, will be next as it is impossible to economically justify.

By John

Sorry John, your way off on reality. It’s happening. You’ll learn to enjoy it once it’s in Manchester. Won’t be long now.

By Tom

HS2b is going to have to be improved. South Manchester should not be blighted. It is going to happen though but in what form right now we can only guess.

By Anonymous

I can’t understand those who want it scrapped, it’s being built. They are tunneling under the Chilterns, Birmingham Centre is like a building site. If its scrapped it will be the biggest cul-de-sac in the history of the world. Welcome the new railway which will regenerate the Picaddily area of Manchester.

By Mike

Just get the planning through

By Richard Cox

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