No assurances over HS2, says transport secretary

Monday 17 December 2012 Updated: 17/12 10:30

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Buy photos » Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin.

THERE can be no assurances yet over the effect HS2 will have on Coventry, but the Government will work with city leaders to ensure it enjoys some benefits.

That's according to transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin who, in a letter to the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said how HS2 integrated with local and regional transport networks was crucial the line controversial line's success.

He wrote: "You will appreciate I cannot give you the specific assurances you ask for some fourteen years ahead of the operation of the new lines but it is certainly our firm intention to ensure that HS2 is planned for an integrated, strategic and consultative manner.

"To ensure the widest possible benefit from the HS2 scheme, there are clearly important issues to consider around how HS2 should integrate with local and regional transport networks.

"An essential first step will be to understand the connectivity needs of different areas in the vicinity of HS2 stations. HS2 also releases capacity on the existing network and we need to work together to establish what this could offer for Coventry and the surrounding area."

A delegation of business people and politicians met Mr McLoughlin last month after two separate polls showed businesses were split on whether they wanted HS2.

The group spoke to Mr McLoughlin 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.

The high speed line will run from London to Birmingham with an interchange station near Birmingham Airport. It is not expected to open until 2026.

Chamber of Commerce Louise Bennett said: "For our meeting to be followed up by a letter from Mr McLoughlin that reaffirms his stance that the government will work with us is very positive and is something we intend to take him up on."

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