THE HS2 rail link will bring £77m to the local economy every year, a report has said.
But Cheshire West and Chester Council and Chester MP Stephen Mosley have warned Chester will only see the benefit if rail links to Crewe, one of the stop off points of HS2, are improved.
On Monday MPs, including Stephen Mosley, voted to progress with the High Speed 2 Rail project which looks to link London to Manchester, Manchester Airport, Leeds, Birmingham and Crewe.
A Freedom of Information request to HS2 Ltd recently revealed the potential benefit to the economy of Chester and Ellesmere Port to be in the region of £76.86m a year.
But both the council and Mr Mosley feel to make Chester fully benefit from the link, transport links between Crewe and Chester need to be improved.
Mr Mosley said: “A new North-South rail line is a vital part of our long-term economic plan for Britain.
“HS2 will solve the capacity crisis, will mean we have a transport system to match our international competitors, and will provide a welcome boost to employment.
“I want to make sure our city and our country has the best possible infrastructure and that Chester benefits from this investment. That’s why I’m delighted our campaign to get HS2 to stop at Crewe was successful.
“HS2 will provide a high speed boost for Britain and for Chester.”
Mr Mosley has already started a campaign calling for the electrification of the train lines between Chester and Crewe and Chester and Warrington which Network Rail is currently looking into.
His campaign – which you can back at www.chesterrail.com – has seen him join the cross-party taskforce looking at the future electrification of train lines in the North.
Last month Cheshire West and Chester Council also backed the plans but only if some stringent conditions, designed to protect communities are met.
They called for a better link between Chester and Wrexham which would open up links with passengers from North East Wales, further investment into the Mid Cheshire lines and also called for a HS2 ‘hub station’ at Crewe - which has now been met – so links between the HS2 line from London and lines through to West Cheshire and North Wales can be strengthened.
The council also criticised a number of proposals in the scheme, including the network’s proposed single track HS1 to HS2 link which the authority felt might inhibit capacity and had the potential of “curtailing the economic benefits to the north”.
It contested the proposition the line would offer an alternative route capacity to the Chester, Warrington Bank Quay and Manchester rail corridor.
There were also concerns over flood prevention along the route as well as the implementation of effective sound and ‘visual mitigation measures’ as much of the route through the borough is on flat land or embankments.
Impacts on the rural communities and the property market near the route are also a concern for the council, which has called for early dialogue to produce specific mitigation measures and it also urged Patrick McLoughlin, minister for Transport, that the ‘corridors’ of wildlife movement be protected.