STOKE CITY Council’s leader has said sorry to Stone Town Council for not telling them sooner about radical proposals to reroute high speed rail though the town.
City councillor Mohammed Pervez’s apology came on Thursday, a week after Stone Town Councillors branded alternative plans to route the HS2 line through Stone and Barlaston “frightening” and “quite absurd”.
The city council has proposed the alternative route to allow opportunity for a station at Stoke on Trent and it was backed by city councillors last night. The proposal also calls for the current West Coast Main Line from Barlaston to Stoke on Trent to be upgraded to accommodate high speed trains.
HS2 Ltd’s proposed route bypasses the city, Stone and Barlaston, instead passing through Marston and west of Walton, close to Swynnerton, on its way to Manchester.
The consultation on the proposed route of HS2’s Phase 2 between Birmingham and Manchester and Leeds, which started last year, closes today.
Speaking on radio last night Councillor Pervez said: “We were keen to engage with everybody; (on January 29) we met with other leaders of neighbouring authorities to go through the details of our proposals to see what benefits it will bring to the whole area.
“I accept perhaps they could have been briefed a bit earlier. Everybody has been working very hard to make sure our proposal is completed in time.”
Councillor Pervez has now offered to bring his team to Stone to explain the proposal to town councillors in more detail and it is hoped this meeting can be arranged within the next few weeks.
Stone Town Council’s controlling group leader, Councillor Philip Jones, said: “I am grateful to Councillor Pervez, and we will gladly accept his offer of a meeting to explain further the City Council’s plans.
“However I am not yet persuaded that the design of the route itself will be left to Stoke City Council. When a number of alternative routes were first drawn up a line to Stoke went through the middle of Stone.”