Manchester cements opposition to HS2 bill
Manchester City Council is set to formalise its complaints regarding the government’s latest plans for the high-speed railway line.
On Friday, the council’s cabinet will be discussing at least 13 key issues with the government’s bill for phase 2 of HS2. This is the leg that connects Crewe and Manchester and would see new stations built at Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Airport.
In a report to the executive ahead of the cabinet meeting, the council said it supported HS2 overall. However, it wanted to make sure the government’s plan would “maximise the benefits and minimise the negative impacts that HS2 will have for the city”.
The Manchester Piccadilly station has been a point of contention since the bill was unveiled in January, with both city council leader Cllr Bev Craig and Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham stating that the station needs to be underground rather than the proposed above-ground plan. Bolstering their case, architectural practice Weston Williamson + Partners publicised its designs for what a possible underground station could look like.
The council said that should an agreement not be reached between the council, the company behind HS2 and the Department for Transport then it would be petition the bill. The council has already instructed parliamentary agents to act on its behalf in negotiations.
These are the chief concerns from the council regarding the HS2 bill, as per the report:
- The design of Manchester Piccadilly station as a surface, turn back station, as opposed to an underground, through station, which could provide greater capacity, reliability, resilience, future proofing and passenger experience and result in a reduced land take.
- The retention of Gateway House, which inhibits connectivity to the rest of the city centre and fails to provide a suitable entrance and arrival point to the city at the Manchester Piccadilly HS2 station.
- The extent of highways infrastructure proposed at Pin Mill Brow, which are overly large, would unduly encourage car travel and increase pollution, sever areas of the city, and do not allow for active travel.
- The level and location of car parking proposed at Manchester Piccadilly, which is too high and not in keeping with the adjacent station’s role as a city centre public transport hub, unnecessarily encourages car travel, and takes up prime development land.
- The need for a multi-modal interchange which provides bus and coach parking facilities.
- The proposed access to a new ramp for Network Rail maintenance, which routes traffic through the Mayfield development, having an unacceptably negative impact
- Inadequate integration of, and powers for, Metrolink at both Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Airport
- The location of the proposed Metrolink turnback at New Islington rather than our preferred site at Velopark, and the proposal to sever the Ashton line for two years
- The proposed location of the ventilation shaft and headhouse on the Fallowfield Road Retail Park on Birchfields Road, and the need to provide adequate flood storage required for the proposed Palatine Road ventilation shaft
- An inappropriate design for highways access to Manchester Airport Station at Junction 6 of the M56, which does not take into account future demand from NPR services, planned development and Airport growth
- The level of construction traffic proposed and the need for consideration of measures to enable materials to be removed using rail at Manchester Airport
- The levels of environmental mitigation, which will be set out in more detail in the City Council’s response to consultation on the hybrid bill’s Environmental Statement
- Changes to statutory powers highlighted in the bill