Economic benefits of £55.7 billion HS2 backed by Shropshire councils
The benefits that could flow into the county through the £55.7 billion HS2 plans have been welcomed by both Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin councils.
Councillors responsible for transport across the county say they want to maximise the impact that could come from a close proximity to the high-speed service and potential improvements to the railways as a result of additional planned connections.
Stafford railway station will become an HS2 hub linking Staffordshire and Shropshire to the £55.7 billion track, despite suggestions it could have been axed under cost savings.
Further knock-on effects for the surrounding network could also include plans to electrify the line between Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton, and proposals to extend that route directly to the new hub in Stafford.
County business leaders have already hailed the news, saying it could help to attract more companies to relocate to the area due to improved transport links. Cabinet members responsible for transport for both Shropshire Council and Telford & Wrekin Council said they welcomed benefits the scheme could offer.
Simon Jones, Shropshire Council's Cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: "Given the county's proximity to both the proposed Birmingham and Crewe hubs, Shropshire Council is actively engaged with the rail industry in looking to maximise the benefits, both economic and in terms of passenger journey times, that would result from HS2.
"The council is one of the Authority Directors of West Midlands Rail, and in this role is also looking to optimise the next West Midlands franchise service patterns and coverage in order to make sure that the region, and Shropshire's place within it, are HS2 ready."
Councillor Angela McClements, Telford & Wrekin Council's cabinet member for transport, neighbourhood and customer services, said the council was committed to improving transport connections for the borough and the region as a key partner of the Marches LEP and West Midlands Combined Authority.
"The council has worked hard to secure the additional services that will come forward as part of the replacement London Midland franchise and electrification of the Shrewsbury to Wolverhampton line has always been a long-term ambition for the authority," she said.
"We welcome any potential developments which will improve access to HS2 ensuring that our residents and businesses can access this service and also ensure that HS2 brings new inward investment and job creation into the borough."
The Department of Transport says it is planning to invest more than £38 billion to modernise the country's railways although it has not currently announced any definitive plans.