The next phase of HS2 began the start of its formal journey in Parliament last month, as Staffordshire County Council focuses on getting the best deal for the county and communities.
Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for HS2, said the county council remained committed to getting the best deal for Staffordshire along every mile of the route including proper compensation, mitigating the impact on the landscape, improving connections and sharing in the economic benefits
Mark said: “From the outset we have campaigned to get the best deal for the county and for our communities and we will continue to do this now that the Phase 2a Bill has been deposited. In Phase One we managed to secure some significant changes, including the lowering of more than five miles of the route in Lichfield to minimise the impact of the project, and in this next phase we will now be examining every mile of the route in detail and challenging where we feel further mitigation could benefit Staffordshire.
“Phase 2a will run through 33 miles of the county and we have made it clear that Staffordshire must share in the economic benefits and be able to access HS2 travel too through the construction of the Handsacre Link in the first phase of the scheme.
“This will allow people in Staffordshire and the surrounding areas to benefit from faster journeys to London and direct links to Birmingham Airport HS2 via the Stafford hub.”
The Transport Secretary deposited the hybrid bill in parliament to prioritise Phase 2a of HS2 six years earlier than first envisaged triggering a consultation process for communities and organisations affected by the scheme.
Following the consultation, those directly affected will have the opportunity to petition on the route in Parliament. Details for the major contracts to build Phase One were also announced.
The Phase 2a route includes plans for a temporary railhead at Stone – with the potential to create a permanent maintenance depot in the future. Facilities at the railhead would include offices, storage, a rail marshalling yard, pre-assembly depot and railway reception lines to manage trains arriving from the conventional railway.