THREE Cheshire MPs who have been critical of HS2 say they are pleased to see the £56 billion project be reviewed.

The Government announced on Wednesday that an independent review into the proposed high-speed railway will be conducted by retired engineer Douglas Oakervee to establish ‘whether and how we proceed’ with it.

Esther McVey, MP for Tatton, has lobbied for an independent review into HS2 since 2017 – when she questioned if there would be a need for it by 2030 at a public meeting in Rudheath.

Following Wednesday’s announcement, she said the review would allow the Government to ‘make properly-informed decisions on whether and how we proceed with HS2’.

“I have always maintained that the case for HS2 has never been fully made and the geographic complexity of Cheshire has not been considered in the design or the costings for the line,” she said.

Northwich Guardian:

“I meet with and hear from constituents on a weekly basis about HS2 and I do not believe they are being treated fairly. Many are going through property acquisition but are still being kept in the dark and not fully informed.

“Others are concerned how the proposals will impact the area and I will be speaking to colleagues at the Department for Transport about the review to ensure their concerns, and the significant impact such a scheme would have for Cheshire is fully heard and understood.”

“What I want to see is better infrastructure in our area and local transport links.  I believe the case for HS2 has not been made and it leaves too many questions unanswered and therefore this independent review is necessary.”

Antoinette Sandbach, MP for Eddisbury, also welcomed the opportunity to review the scheme’s costs.

She told the House of Commons last November that HS2 Ltd was ‘refusing to deliver’ on its promise to provide visualisations for its planned Wimboldsley depot, and in July accused the firm of having ‘an approach to secrecy unparalleled since the cold war’.

Northwich Guardian:

“I have become increasingly concerned about the economic viability of the project, particularly given that HS2 have yet to properly address the likely financial costs of dealing with the extensive geological risks affecting the route in Eddisbury,” she said.

“I think that it is only right that investments of the scale of HS2 are subject to a rigorous, on-going assessment of their costs and benefits to ensure that they continue to deliver value for money and I look forward to contributing to the review.”

Fiona Bruce, MP for Congleton, recently reaffirmed her opposition to the project at a meeting with Mid Cheshire Against HS2 in Holmes Chapel.

Northwich Guardian:

She said: “I am very pleased to hear that the Prime Minister has announced a review of HS2 this week.

“I am writing to ask him to take into account the concerns about HS2 which I expressed recently in the House of Commons, concerns which I know are shared by many of my constituents for whom improving transport locally – by train, bus and improved road surfaces remain a high priority.”

The review will cover whether HS2 Ltd is in a position to deliver the project effectively, the full range of benefits from the project and the full range of costs of the project – including any opportunities to make savings.

It will also consider whether the assumptions behind the business case – such as passenger numbers and train frequencies – are realistic.

The cost of cancelling or scaling down the project will also be considered, as well as whether the railway in the north could be prioritised over the southern sections of HS2.

Possible reductions in the scheme include reducing its speed, building only Phase 1 between Birmingham and London, combining Phases 1 and 2a between London and Crewe, and ‘different choices or phasing’ of Phase 2b between Crewe, Manchester and Leeds.

Crewe's MP says she is ‘deeply disappointed’ following the announcement of a review into the £56 billion HS2 project which would transform her constituency.

Laura Smith, Labour MP for Crewe and Nantwich, says she is ‘extremely frustrated’ by the terms of reference for the review and fears it could produce a ‘half-baked scheme’.

Northwich Guardian:

She said: "HS2 is the most important infrastructure project of the next decade. It is 15 years in the making and billions of taxpayers’ money has already been spent getting us this far.

“This is not about getting to London faster. HS2 is also central to unlocking Crewe’s potential to become a nationally significant economic centre.

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“Almost all of the businesses that are involved are British and the majority are small and medium-sized enterprises. Scaling back HS2, or scrapping it altogether, would cost thousands of jobs and miss a huge opportunity to bring decent employment opportunities to Crewe and Nantwich."

A final report is expected this autumn.