HS2 will benefit residents and businesses across east Cheshire.

That’s the message from Cllr Rachel Bailey, leader of Cheshire East Council, who met with Sir David Higgins, chairman of HS2 Ltd, at Crewe UTC last Thursday.

She believes the proposed high-speed railway is crucial for improving infrastructure across the whole borough – and points to the forthcoming Middlewich eastern by-pass and A500 improvements as examples of this.

“The opportunity for improved connectivity across Cheshire East and beyond is absolutely unbelievable,” she told the Guardian.

“Now what we need is for the region to be HS2-ready. We need to talk to our community and to Government to know what this means.

“We need to ensure that businesses know the ambition for HS2, and that there will be employment sites that will allow them to expand.

“We need our young people coming out of education with those engineering skills, knowing they are following the right path to ensure that they have the skill set that the whole concept for HS2 energises."

Cllr Bailey spoke just days after CEC launched a public consultation on the Crewe HS2 masterplan vision.

The draft proposal outlines the support for 40,000 new jobs in the next 30 years, plus a 350,000 sq m commercial hub and 7,000 new homes.

“Obviously there will be a lot of logistical planning, but if we have the infrastructure in place, that will be the key difference.

"Building up to that, planning for it and really asking residents to engage on the consultation for the masterplan is crucial.

"We want them to put forward their views, and take ownership of what they want for Crewe."

For more information on the Crewe HS2 masterplan vision, visit cheshireeast.gov.uk/council_and_democracy/council_information/consultations/consultations.aspx