Manchester leaders to press Government on ‘cut-price’ overground HS2 station

Over 50 political and business leaders are to lobby the Government next week on its decision to rule out an underground HS2 station in Manchester.
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Over 50 political and business leaders are to lobby the Government next week on its decision to rule out an underground HS2 station in Manchester.

Leaders a citing a potential dent to the city’s economy of £333 million per year if a new overground station goes ahead that will swallow prime city centre land.

In partnership with Manchester City Council and United City, private sector lobby group Downtown in Business will present evidence to the Department of Transport on July 6th at the House of Commons, urging it to revise designs for Manchester Piccadilly.

The leader of Manchester City Council, Bev Craig, the council’s chief executive Joanne Roney,  Shadow Minister for Culture Media & Sport Lucy Powell MP, and parliamentarians from across the Northwest will be in attendance.

The move comes after High-Speed Rail director general boss Clive Maxwell claimed an underground station would be too costly to develop. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps also stated the underground option had been ruled out as it would drain money from other parts of the rail network.

However, London is set to benefit from a HS2 super hub that will be served by six underground tunnels, but Rail Minister Wendy Morton rejected calls for a Manchester version stating that tunnelling would cause significant disruption and traffic congestion.  

Frank McKenna, the Group chairman and chief executive of Downtown in Business, said:

“The current plan, to deliver a surface station, will swallow up a massive chunk of city centre land that will otherwise be economically productive and support the city’s ‘levelling up’ efforts.

“Instead, we are arguing that an underground version, which will cost an additional £3 billion according to current projections, will provide £333million a year in additional economic benefit.”

“The revised proposal put forward by the Government, in my view, just cuts corners and doesn’t mirror what HS2 has been designed to achieve, and makes a mockery of the levelling-up agenda.

“With an underground station, we can make the most of space and make a real difference to the future of the city and the wider region.”

Among the companies attending the event to support Manchester City Councils position are Bruntwood, Deloitte, the Manchester Airport Group, Muse Developments, and Avison Young. 

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