To consider whether to petition against the High Speed Rail (Crewe – Manchester) Bill.
Consideration was given to a report which outlined the process that Council needed to follow to petition against the High Speed Rail (Crewe - Manchester) Bill to enable the Council to negotiate enhancements and mitigations for the benefit of Cheshire East residents and businesses. The report also outlined the proposed approach to member engagement in preparing and progressing a petition.
The Council remained supportive of HS2, recognising the wider economic and regeneration potential that HS2 could unlock for Crewe and the wider Borough, including jobs and increased business confidence to invest. However, the Council was aware that the delivery of the scheme would impact on the environment and the ecology of Cheshire East and cause disruption to residents and businesses.
This support remained conditional on the delivery of an enhanced hub station for Crewe, with 5 to 7 HS2 trains per hour, and on securing appropriate levels of mitigation from the scheme impacts, including suitable levels of compensation to Cheshire East residents and businesses negatively impacted by HS2. Petitioning against a HS2 hybrid bill provided the Council with the opportunity to influence the scheme and seek further enhancements for the Crewe hub and additional mitigation against the impacts of the scheme where appropriate. As was the case with Phase 2a, any petition against a HS2 hybrid bill by the Council, did not impact the overall stance but provided the opportunity to seek appropriate changes to the scheme proposals and how it would be delivered, to provide a better outcome for the Borough.
Section 239 of the Local Government Act 1972 provided the statutory powers to either promote or oppose a HS2 hybrid bill and therefore, deposit a petition against the Bill. A full council resolution to oppose the hybrid bill under S. 239 of this Act was the formal action the Council was required to take to enable it to deposit a petition and seek to secure such changes and enhancements to the HS2 proposals to deliver a better outcome for Cheshire East.
RESOLVED: That Council
1 supports the principles of the High Speed Rail (Crewe - Manchester) Bill;
2 resolves that it is expedient to petition against the High Speed Rail (Crewe – Manchester) Bill introduced in the 2021-22 session of Parliament, and will seek, amongst other things,
i. enhancements to the scheme proposals to maximise the benefits of the Crewe Hub; and
ii. improved mitigation and compensation against the negative impacts of the scheme on the local environment and residents.
3 delegates authority to the Executive Director of Place, in consultation with the Chair of the Corporate Policy Committee and the Chair of the Highways and Transport Committee, to take all necessary and expedient steps to give effect to the resolution above.
4 delegates to the Director of Governance and Compliance the authority to seal any necessary documents and confirm that Sharpe Pritchard LLP (Parliamentary Agents) be authorised to deposit and, if necessary, sign the Petition of the Council against the Bill.
5 delegates authority to the Executive Director of Place, in consultation with the Chair of the Corporate Policy Committee and the Chair of the Highways and Transport Committee, to withdraw any aspect of the Council’s Petitition against the Bill if this is no longer the approprite course of action, and to settle or agree any basis for the withdrawal; and
6 notes the member engagement in the preparation and progress of the Bill as outlined in Section 7 of the report.