City must benefit from HS2 - MP

By Chris Smith Tuesday 13 November 2012 Updated: 14/11 12:28

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Buy photos » Let's cash in on HS2 - MP Bob Ainsworth. 16.010.007.COV.DJ2

COVENTRY needs working relationship with the people behind the controversial HS2 rail line if its to see any benefit.

That's the view of city MP and regular commuter Bob Ainsworth who was among a delegation of business chiefs and politicians from the city to hold talks with transport minister Patrick McLoughlin on Thursday.

The group spoke to him about the need for services to the capital from the city's main train station to not be affected with a HS2 interchange planned for Stonebridge on the A45 out towards Solihull.

They also made the case for improvements to be made to the A45 itself and bus services to the interchange so residents and potentional employees could get to and from the city when using the £16.3billion section between Birmingham and London.

Services to and from London from Coventry are already at full capcity, said Mr Ainsworth, who travels to but HS2 could free up some space for services north and south of the city to be improved.

"Mr McLoughlin said he wanted to work with us, but the shelf life of a transport minister isn't very long so we can never really be sure how binding the assurances we got were," said Mr Ainsworth.

"We never really had a particular proposition for for him, but it was important we established a working relationship so we can maximise the benefits of HS2, and now in the planning stage was when we needed to do that.

"For Coventry it's all about the connectivity, we can see huge benefit from HS2 as long as it's going to be accessible to people who live and work here."

The delegation also included MPs Jim Cunningham, Geoffrey Robinson, city council leader John Mutton and deputy George Duggins, and Angela Tellyn and Larry Coltman from Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce.

Mr Coltman, a past president of the Chamber, said: "We are very pleased the Department for Transport is going to work with us to ensure HS2 strengthens the economy of Coventry and Warwickshire and brings the infrastructure improvements necessary to support it."

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