Crewe is a proud railway town, with generations of expertise and experience. The HS2 hub station at Crewe is set to transform the town. But new documents reveal that the Infrastructure Maintenance Depot that was to have been built at Crewe, providing valuable jobs, may now be sited at Stone. The change of location for the depot is because Cheshire East Council have given planning permission for 370 new houses on the proposed depot site.
The changes proposed will have a major impact on what the final outcome of HS2 at Crewe will look like, but the latest consultation process has no venue in Crewe.
In 2014, Steve Hogben, Labour Councillor for Crewe South, welcomed the announcement of HS2 saying, “We must also ensure that the All Change for Crewe initiative and other local plans take full account of the challenges and opportunities offered by the HS2 project. The future location of the rail freight yard at Basford Hall will also need to be considered and resolved. We need joined up thinking so that Crewe benefits fully from this announcement.” It now looks as though the Conservatives on Cheshire East Council have made the big announcement on HS2, but not done the planning work required to ensure that Crewe benefits fully.
Cllr Sam Corcoran, Labour Councillor for Sandbach Heath & East, said, “Cheshire East Council seems obsessed with building houses on greenfield sites in the south of the borough, in order to protect greenfield sites in the north of the borough. The latest Local Plan proposals suggest 8050 new houses around Crewe (incl Shavington, Basford and Leighton), 2951 new houses around Sandbach, 2181 around Nantwich, but only 950 around Wilmslow and 689 around Poynton. Now it seems that the rush to give planning permission for houses around Crewe has led to the loss of a rail employment opportunity. The staff in the Cheshire East Council ‘planning’ department are clearly struggling with the flood of speculative housing applications that government policies have let loose.
“There is widespread agreement that as a nation we need to build more homes. Labour proposes building more council houses and would let local government planning determine where the houses should be built (such as brownfield sites in Stoke). The Conservatives have let loose private developers, allowing them to build on sites where they can make the greatest profit (greenfield sites in south Cheshire).
Labour would have plan-led development. The Conservatives rely on the free market and are allowing developer-led planning.”