Mayor calls for scrapped HS2 land to be safeguarded

The mayor of Greater Manchester has called for land which has already been bought for HS2’s axed Phases 2A and 2B to Crewe and Manchester to be safeguarded.

The government has said the land will be resold, but Andy Burnham, who was speaking at a fringe event during the Labour Party conference, said the short timetable for a sell-off was ‘not acceptable’, and that the Prime Minister’s decision to abandon the route, announced six days ago at the Conservative Party conference, ‘mustn’t be allowed to stand’.

He continued: ‘We need to safeguard the land. We've been told that the Birmingham to Manchester land is protected for a matter of weeks but that protection will be lifted.

‘That does not give Andy Street [mayor of the West Midlands] or me or Tracy Brabin [mayor of West Yorkshire] or anyone else the time to look at whether that’s viable.

‘We need to actually work together. There should be a clear message that time should be allowed to look at Birmingham to Manchester to see if we can come up with an alternative solution.

‘When will Birmingham to Manchester ever get a good railway line if we throw away all the work that’s been done in the last 15 years?’

Delegates at the Labour conference backed a motion last night calling on the party to build HS2 in full if it is elected.

Although leader Sir Keir Starmer has declined to commit himself to rescuing the high speed project, Labour is promising to create ‘a comprehensive and well-developed plan by the next election’ for railways in the north of England that can be ready ‘from day one’.

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