Getting the best deal for Staffordshire on HS2

In our formal response to HS2’s consultation which we submitted last week, we restated that removing blight and providing appropriate timely compensations to communities must be the primary focus.

This second phase of the project will cut through a further 33 miles of Staffordshire making 45 miles in total, and our only interest is ensuring our communities voice is heard and we achieve the best possible deal for all of Staffordshire and it’s residents.

The impact of the route on our environment, on our communities, on our economy and on our current rail network cannot be underestimated and as I have said before we will be working hard with all parties to get the best result possible. You can read our joint response with Lichfield District Council and Newcastle Borough Council at

On a local note for myself it’s great news that two Rocester schools have agreed to explore plans to merge and move to new, improved facilities in the village. It’s very early days but the proposal could see a brand new, purpose built school that will really enhance education for children in the area.

Ryecroft CE Middle School and Dove First School would merge and have a brand new school, while JCB would use the land on Ryecroft as part of their expansion plans to their headquarters.

Improving education is one of our key priorities and we are determined to work with schools and all partners to raise standards in education across the whole of Staffordshire, as we create the right conditions for our economy to grow.

I met Trade Minister Greg Clark MP on Monday with fellow LEP board members Ron Dougan (Chair) and Mohammed Pevez, Leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council. Mr Clarke spent the day in Staffordshire finding out about our plans to bring jobs and investment to the county, taking in a visit to i54 South Staffordshire.

Mr Clark said that our partnership had a clear vision and strategy with the right focus on infrastructure and skills and added that it should continue to build constructive relationships with neighbouring LEPs and MPs.

This was an ideal opportunity to discuss our strategic plans with Mr Clark and it was good to receive some constructive feedback on our plans.  As you will know, we have been working hard over the last few years with businesses to enable them to grow their operations with hundreds of jobs being created, while undertaking major infrastructure projects to support our growth.

Finally, just a reminder to our young sporting stars that there is still time to apply for a grant under our STAF grant scheme before the closing date of 2 March 2014.

Grants of up to £1,000 are available to young people living in Staffordshire and are awarded in selected sports to reflect the broad range of talent in the County.  We have a wealth of young sporting talent here in Staffordshire and as a council we want to do what we can to nurture this talent.  I would encourage people to have a look at the scheme and if eligible make an application.  There are more details at

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