STOP HS2 – Joe
One of the issues which had been floating about for a while is how likely the Government are to stick with their plans for the proposed Manchester Airport HS2 station. The reason for this is that although the idea for a station at Crewe had been trailed for a long time, it was never in the original plans, and therefore the costs for HS2. So the speculation had been that if the Crewe station was added, another station would have to be cut to pay for it. The prime candidate for the chop had always been the one at Manchester Airport which has never been set in stone.
So a week or so before the announcement of Phase 2a, there were some bizarre pronouncements coming out specifically backing the idea of the Manchester Airport HS2 station, such as the fact it could somehow back up the idea of a £1bn boost to the music industry.
Well the answer has sort of found its’ way to the light of day. Whilst the rest of Phase 2 (Phase 2b?) is now set to be announced two years late in Autumn 2016, Richard Westcott from the BBC reported:
New stations are the most expensive things of all, so it raises the prospect of something else losing out. In the past they’ve looked at whether a planned new station at Manchester Airport should be postponed although the government suggests that’s no longer on the cards, “subject to agreeing an appropriate local funding contribution to the costs”.
So what appears now to be clear is that if there is to be a Manchester Airport station, either the Airport, the council, or both are going to have to put their hands in their own pockets to pay toward it. This raises the question of whether or not Birmingham Airport or the associated councils there should have to do too, especially as John Morris from Birmingham Airport has gone on the record previously saying they would be willing to ‘contribute’.
Maybe the question which needs asking the most is how it would be possible to ask for a contribution for one station, and not the others. After all, with the example of Crossrail the majority of the funding for the project does not come from the DfT, but a combination of money from TfL and a precept on business rates.