DELAYS by Cheshire East Council could put at risk planned investment in upgrading Crewe train station, insists local politicians. They have reacted angriliy at what he described as 'dithering' over the issue by the local authority.

Labour's local Parliamentary candidate David Williams said that despite the Government pledge of inverstment, the council is still considering plans to replace the historic terminal with a new station at Basford.

He said: “It is little wonder that there is a lack of progress on Crewe Station with the dead hand of Cheshire East Council in charge.

"Not only is there a business case, but there were funds put aside for the Crewe Gateway Scheme. Where has that money gone to?”

He said a 'briefing note' suggests that Cheshire East has abandoned the already agreed Crewe Gateway Scheme and states that 'it is premature to act immediately on the DfT announcement', which promised investment to upgrade the aging station.

Mr Williams said, “I brought Geoff Hoon to Crewe to make the case against moving the station to Basford.

"Along with CREAM (a station campaign group) we persuaded the then Transport Secretary that the gateway scheme was the way forward.

"I thought at that point we had buried the Basford proposal, but it appears that over a year later Cheshire East Council is still talking about it.

“I then met with Lord Andrew Adonis on his tour of the UK’s rail system, along with Cheshire East Councillors Roy Cartlidge and Chris Thorley.

"We again made the case for the Crewe Gateway Scheme.

"Lord Adonis listened and confirmed the future of Crewe Railway Station on the current site and with new money for its upgrade.

“The business case for the Crewe Gateway Scheme has already been made and is very clear.

It opens up development land for around 8,000 new jobs and a redeveloped station on the existing site is central to that scheme.

"The scheme is crucial if Crewe and Nantwich is to take advantage of the economic recovery.”

Former leading County Councillor Dave Newton, who worked on the cross-party panel in drawing up the Crewe Gateway Scheme, said: “I am so angry that Cheshire East Council is dragging its feet on this.

"This scheme is vital to the future prosperity of Crewe."

Councillor Roy Cartlidge added: “The ‘briefing note’ talks about ‘the absence of a valid business case for the Crewe Rail Gateway Scheme’.

"Maybe someone should tell all the partners who contributed to it, such as MMU Cheshire, the Chamber of Commerce, the former Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council and the former Cheshire County Council, that they cannot produce a valid business case."