CHESHIRE East Council is backing government plans for a £50billion high-speed rail link, if a new hub station is built in Crewe.

The authority’s leader Michael Jones labelled HS2 a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to reinvigorate Crewe as a major rail capital.

The council is supporting HS2 subject to the proposal delivering a new hub station for Crewe and the highest standards of mitigation and compensation for residents and businesses affected by the route of the line.

Clr Jones believes the proposal would create £1.5billion of transport benefits and a further £1billion of economic value for the local economy, creating up to 60,000 new jobs.

“HS2 is a once in a century opportunity and just as Crewe was the original railway town, so we will be again if these proposals are accepted,” he said.

“Given Crewe’s unique 360 degree connectivity, there is a compelling case for a new hub station allowing us to fully maximise the benefits of HS2 as well as provide more capacity for local passenger services and extra freight, freeing-up space on our roads.

“We have been in detailed talks with Network Rail and other partners about this to make sure the proposals are costed and robust and I am pleased that they are.

“We have now written to the transport secretary setting out our vision and backing it up our detailed analysis.”

Cheshire East feel the creation of a new hub station and track layout for Crewe – paid for by Network Rail – could accommodate a new stop for HS2 and potentially up to seven services to London every hour.

“The consultation on the HS2 route is the right time to make this case, so we are urging the people of Cheshire East to say ‘Yes’ to HS2 and ‘Yes’ to a new hub station for Crewe,” added clr Jones.

A paper setting out the case for a new hub station as part of the HS2 proposals was hit with a backlash from several councillors at the Cheshire East Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.