Following the promoter’s Opening Statement on 31 January 2023, petitions will shortly be heard in relation to Phase 2b. Perhaps the most high-profile petition however is that by Manchester City Council (MCC). Whilst HS2 will generate benefits including improved connectivity and journey times for passengers, as well as expected economic growth, MCC are arguing the negative impacts of current plans to construct a 12-metre high, mile long viaduct across the eastern part of the city, will outweigh the benefits. As such, MCC are petitioning for an underground station.
Source: New Civil Engineer
Despite discourses of ‘levelling-up’ the North, the government is seeking to cut costs by building a turn-back surface station with concrete viaducts, rather than an underground station. Although this may be financially beneficial, it comes at the expense of 500,000 sq metres of prime development land, severing east Manchester communities, cutting off the Metrolink lines, and blighting the city’s urban landscape. It is estimated the loss of development alone could cost 14,000 jobs.
Furthermore, cutting costs in the short-term needs to be considered against Manchester’s ability to cope with future growth, with the hub being at full capacity from day one, as well as the city’s economy expected to lose £333m by 2050 as a result of the wider impacts stemming from the surface station.
In contrast, it has been highlighted that London is expected to receive a £1.6 billion new underground ‘super-hub’ which will house 14 platforms, including 6 high-speed ones, making it the ‘best connected and largest new railway station ever built in the UK’.
The urban landscape will be permanently impacted and HS2 will have a major impact on how the east of the city will develop over the next 25 years.
Roger Hannah is advising several clients impacted by the scheme on petitioning and compensation matters. Please contact our Compulsory Purchase Team to discuss further.