Warrington Borough Council has expressed its disappointment that the latest proposal for the HS2 rail link bypasses Warrington.
Cllr Terry O’Neill, leader of Warrington Borough Council, said: “It is reassuring that Warrington’s economic significance and our ambitions for the town are recognised in this report and we acknowledge some of the potential benefits high speed rail may bring.
“An upgraded West Coast Mainline and a High Speed ‘hub’ station at Bank Quay are a priority for us. We will continue to oppose any HS2 route that doesn’t include this yet, at the same time, threatens significant disruption to local communities.
“The Council will continue to press Transport for the North, HS2 Limited and Network Rail to make the case for this Hub station where the planned HS3 line and the West Coast Main Line meet at Bank Quay. It is vital that there is a joined up approach to rail infrastructure projects and we would expect to see greater communication between Transport for the North, HS2 and Network Rail.
“The current version of the plans doesn’t feature a hub for Warrington. Instead, they include a route which takes HS2 around Warrington and joins the West Coast Mainline north of the town via a ‘spur’ line from near Manchester Airport to Golborne. This will mean HS2 doesn’t use the existing line from Crewe to Warrington but cuts through large parts of Warrington including Broomedge, Hollins Green, Culcheth and Croft instead. It is all pain and no economic or environmental gain for residents and businesses.
“Warrington Borough Council strongly opposes the inclusion of this ‘spur’ line (referred to by HS2 as the Golborne Link). This version of the plan is not only damaging to the borough but also undermines the reputation of HS2 and its stated objective of boosting business in the north. For the relatively short-term saving on the infrastructure costs they are effectively by-passing one of the most robust and efficient engines for economic growth in the country.
“We have been reassured by HS2 that we will be able to reinforce our case further and are confident that this economically resilient and booming borough must be included in any plans for regional rail networks.
“Ultimately, this will be a decision for Parliament and we hope that our two local MPs will join us, and residents, in fighting for what is best for Warrington and for the north west.”