HS2 - answers needed, as is local investment and focus

I have always supported greater transport investment in the North. For too long we have seen major regional differences between ourselves and the South, and indeed when it comes to Transport generally, we lag behind our European counterparts.

That’s why I support HS2 – we need major investment and we need to improve speeds, and HS2 can achieve this. But not at any cost.

As welcome as these benefits will be, the government must keep an eye on cost, and also answer the many questions residents have about geology concerns and the exact nature of the route.

No government project should be given a blank cheque – especially when there are so many additional transport priorities that need attention, such as improving East West links regionally or equally pressingly, developing rail services in Mid Cheshire. I’m realistic enough to know that major projects can often increase in costs, and this isn’t always a reason to scrap them completely – but it still needs to be value for money, and the government must keep this at the forefront of their mind.

I will be asking Ministers to respond to the concerns people have raised about route and geology. HS2 can still be a he positive for the region. But it shouldn’t continue without scrutiny, and it mustn’t happen “at any cost”, especially if this is a cost that entirely crowds out transport investment that would benefit local commuters, not just those travelling long distance.

I am currently raising the issue of Mid Cheshire services with Ministers and working with colleagues to press for the development, reopening and improvement of services and stations around Middlewich and Gadbrook Park.

Services like this matter just as much as City to City improvements. I will continue to demand the government delivers on both.