Supporting our communities on HS2 – Phase 2

I hope you have all been enjoying the recent hot weather, but please keep an eye out for your friends, relatives and neighbours you know who, for whatever reason, may be less able to look after themselves over the recent high temperatures.

Since the winter we have been working hard to make sure communities voices are heard about the impacts of Phase 1 of HS2 on their homes and we are now doing the same for those affected by Phase 2 which is being consulted on now until January 31, 2014.

The impact of living in the shadow of this project is enormous and if it does go ahead, residents could face years of uncertainty, living near a construction site with eventually a high speed train going past close by. As a Council we are committed to fighting for meaningful mitigation and compensation for those affected by both phases and will be doing everything in our powers to persuade government to lessen the impact if Parliament decides the project goes ahead.

The western leg of the network would serve the proposed stations at Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly stations. The line would connect with the London-West Midlands leg near Lichfield in the West Midlands, before heading north-west past Stafford and on towards Crewe. The eastern leg would serve stations in the East Midlands, South Yorkshire and Leeds. The line would connect with the London-West Midlands leg to the east of Birmingham, near Junction 4 of the M6, and then follow the M42 corridor north-east towards Derby and Nottingham, clipping parts of Tamworth.

The consultation events will take place where communities will be affected including, Yarnfield, Armitage, Whitmore, Tamworth and Stafford. You can find out more on the official HS2 Ltd website.

Unemployment figures released last week show that Staffordshire’s economy continues to show improvement for people looking for work. Staffordshire has seen a fall of 5.3 per cent over the last month in the number of people claiming Job Seekers’ Allowance. Every district or borough in the county has seen a decrease for the third month in a row which is great news.

Over the last year in Staffordshire, JSA claimants have fallen by 11.9 per cent and 14.6 per cent in the last quarter. The figures follow last week’s announcement that Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent is one of just three areas nationally to be awarded the opportunity to run a pilot initiative to drive skills development. And, we also saw the announcement of more jobs for Alstom in Stafford and JCB with a new warehouse operation in Newcastle.

We know these are still challenging times, but we will continue to work on building Staffordshire’s growing reputation as a prime location for business and ensuring we have a workforce skilled to meet the demand.

Philip Atkins


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