CHESHIRE East Council is backing plans for a high-speed rail link that will pass near Pickmere and High Legh.

The authority’s leader, councillor Michael Jones, said Cheshire East would support HS2 if proposals for a new hub station at Crewe are accepted.

Clr Jones called the proposals a ‘once in a century’ opportunity for Cheshire East, one he believes would reinvigorate Crewe as a major rail capital.

“HS2 is a once in a century opportunity and just as Crewe was the original railway town, so we will be again if these proposals are accepted,” he said.

“Given Crewe’s unique 360 degree connectivity, there is a compelling case for a new hub station allowing us to fully maximise the benefits of HS2 as well as provide more capacity for local passenger services and extra freight, freeing-up space on our roads.”

The council believes the creation of a new hub station and track layout for Crewe, paid for by Network Rail, could accommodate a new stop for HS2 and potentially seven services to London every hour.

Clr Jones said the proposal would create £1.5billion of transport benefits and a further £1billion of economic value for the local economy, including 60,000 new jobs.

“We have been in detailed talks with Network Rail and other partners about this to make sure the proposals are costed and robust and I am pleased that they are,” he added.

“We have now written to the Transport Secretary setting out our vision and backing up our detailed analysis.

“The consultation on the HS2 route is the right time to make this case, so we are urging the people of Cheshire East to say ‘Yes’ to HS2 and ‘Yes’ to a new hub station for Crewe.”

A paper setting out the case for a new hub station went before Cheshire East’s cabinet last week, however it was met with some resistance.

Andrew Shore, chair of Pickmere parish council, said he supported the creation of a hub station at Crewe, but that the proposals should be beneficial for all Cheshire East residents.

“I believe Cheshire East should be supportive of the economic benefits and growth of all its residents,” he said.

“Not the creation of jobs in part of the borough at the expense and wellbeing of others.

“The current proposals have a disproportionate impact on residents in the rural north of the borough.”