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Anger at latest HS2 plans across the borough

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: January 30, 2014

By Robin Scott

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ANGRY Stafford and Stone leaders fear a high speed rail line stopping in Stoke could damage Stafford as a rail hub and hit businesses.

Stafford Borough Council says an HS2 station in Stoke-on-Trent would have a "negative impact" and would undermine investment in both Stafford and Stone.

And angry civic leaders in Stone say the plans, which would cut a swathe through the market town, are "frightening" and "quite absurd".

It comes in the wake of Stoke-on-Trent City Council's alternative proposal to the advertised HS2 route from London to Manchester, including the use of the existing rail corridor north of Stone.

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Stone Town Council has unanimously voted to object to the Department of Transport.

Councillor Philip Jones said: "Stoke on Trent City Council has proposed that HS2 stops in Stoke on Trent which would mean a line running straight through the middle of Stone, either through Crown Meadows or Aston Lodge."

"The whole idea is quite absurd."

Councillor Geoff Collier said: "This would absolutely destroy Stone."

And Councillor Jill Hood added: "I think this is the most ridiculous proposal I have heard in years."

She said the recently published report into Stafford Borough's local plan had described Stone as a "sleepy little town".

"We don't want waking up. We don't want HS2. Tell Stoke on Trent to stick it."

In its response the borough council states there is deep concern that improved rail access from London to Birmingham and Manchester as a result of HS2 could reduce future investment in Stafford Borough as the big cities would be more attractive.

The council's response says continued investment in the conventional rail network would derive greater benefits to Stafford Borough, with the proposed Norton Bridge Junction Improvements, and the Northern Hub linking Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Victoria.

It added: "A station stop north of Stafford could have a negative impact on Stafford as a rail hub. The economic investment in employment and housing that would be attracted around such a station stop could seriously undermine investment in Stafford as the county town, and in Stone."

Gareth Jones, chairman of Barlaston Parish Council, added: "I think it is irresponsible to try to create this diversion which will cause great concern to many more people when there is no real prospect of success from what is being proposed by Stoke City.

"Obviously I would fight any attempts to try and push such an agenda forward.

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  • ConcernedGB  |  February 02 2014, 6:47PM

    The best option is for a concerted effort to get the HS2 White Elephant scrapped and the money invested in modernisation and extension of the current network. England does not need a European clone railway system when by careful investment we could have a network that other countries would be jealous of again. English cities or not far enough apart to benifit from a HS rail system and most of the profit from its building would end up in the pockets of forign contries and companies, if not China would not be so desperate to become involved.

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