HOLMES Chapel MP Fiona Bruce says her constituents would rather see the ‘huge amount’ earmarked for HS2 being spent on improving local transport services.

Ms Bruce was speaking in the Commons during a debate on the High Speed Rail (West Midlands to Crewe) Bill, and is pictured meeting residents at Holmes Chapel Railway Station to discuss their concerns over HS2.

She said in the Commons: “I cannot condone any expenditure in relation to this project, and I do not believe that the further reviews and reports proposed will do anything other than reinforce my view and that of so many of my constituents that the business case for HS2 has simply not been made.

“It is a hugely expensive project. It will not proportionately benefit my constituents, who time and again say to me that the huge amount of money involved would be much better spent on improving local transport services, whether it is the cycleways; the bus services, which have been reduced and need reinstating, particularly for the elderly; a bypass for Holmes Chapel; or better facilities at Sandbach station.

“My constituents cannot understand why there is a need for them to contribute to the huge expense of HS2, particularly as only a tiny proportion of them are likely to use it.

“There is real concern about the high - possibly too high - ticket prices that HS2 is likely to incur, when many rail charges are already very expensive for those who want to travel down to London.

“Many of my constituents are concerned that all this will do is draw business down to London.

“For a constituency like mine, which will not have a direct connection with HS2, there will still need to be local connections, whether it is from Crewe or coming up from Birmingham or down from Manchester.

“There is no confidence that HS2 will attract business to our area. There are many other reasons why business would be attracted to my part of Cheshire.

“It is a wonderful place to live - it is very attractive, with great schools and a good quality of life - but there is no confidence that the huge expenditure of HS2 will lead to increased business in our area. A proper business case has never been made for this.

“The case for speed has never been made. People work on the train and, because my constituents will have to make a connection - whether it is from Crewe or elsewhere - they are not convinced that the slim time saving justifies the expenditure that will be incurred.

“If the aim of the project is to narrow the gap between the north and London, the investment needs to be in the north.”


MP Fiona Bruce with Chris Triffitt, Graham Dellow and Miles Palmer