Shaping the future of rail travel in Staffordshire

With HS2 hitting the headlines almost daily and reports being presented around whether or not the business case adds up, I want to remind people that we are still fighting our corner on the proposals.  The County Council does not make the ultimate decision on HS2, that is up to parliament to decide but we can ensure that people’s voices are heard and put forward  in a strong case for mitigation and compensation. 

Working together with Lichfield District Council and community groups, our experts have already looked at the potential impact of phase one of HS2.  The report highlights a range of issues including, the impact on the landscape and ecology, farming, heritage, viability of communities, flood management and connectivity.

We have produced a report with the findings which has been sent to HS2 Ltd and we will continue to fight the Staffordshire corner and make the case to lessen the impact on our communities and fight for meaningful compensation to those affected should the project go ahead. The next stage is likely to be the Hybrid Bill which we expect to be revealed around November. 

While the debate on HS2 continues, we are working on the here and now and, without  wanting to confuse people, we have just launched a consultation into the future of rail travel here in Staffordshire.    You will have heard me talk about creating a connected county which is the Council’s vision for Staffordshire.  A key part of this is in having a sustainable rail travel network and we need people’s feedback to help make this happen. The review to a certain extent ignored HS2 as there is little benefit to the project here in Staffordshire, but railways do form a significant part of local infrastructure and the council needs to have a strong stance so we know what we need from government.

The survey we want people to complete is available at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/railstrategy and aims to gather people’s experiences of rail travel in Staffordshire, good and bad and in all compass directions.  Those completing the survey will be asked for their comments and ideas for improving services, trains, stations, timetables as well as related facilities such as car parking at stations and access to cycle lanes. We want to hear from both Staffordshire residents (rail users and non-rail users) and people from outside of the county who use Staffordshire’s rail network.

The Rail Summit that we held with our partners in January was a great success and has given us a good indication of what is needed for the county.  This coupled with feedback from our survey will help us secure the best possible rail   travel network and any funding required to make it happen.  If you can afford five or ten minutes to complete the survey your feedback is appreciated.

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