Thursday, 26 November 2009
CHESHIRE EAST COUNCIL DITHERING PUTS CREWE'S RECOVERY AT RISK
David Williams, the Labour Party’s Parliamentary Candidate for Crewe and Nantwich, has reacted angrily to further delays by Cheshire East Council that could put the planned government investment in upgrading Crewe Railway Station at risk.
Having had sight of a ‘Briefing Note’ by Councillor Jamie Macrae, the Portfolio Holder for Prosperity, an angry David Williams said, “It is little wonder that there is a lack of progress on Crewe Station with the ‘dead hand’ of Cheshire East Council in charge. Not only is there a business case, but there were funds put aside for the Crewe Gateway Scheme. Where has that money gone to?”
The Briefing Note from Councillor Macrae suggests that Cheshire East has abandoned the already agreed Crewe Gateway Scheme and states that “it is premature to act immediately on the DfT announcement” which promised investment to upgrade Crewe Railway Station.
David Williams said, “I brought Geoff Hoon to Crewe to make the case against moving the station to Basford. Along with CREAM we persuaded the then Transport Secretary that the Gateway Scheme was the way forward. I thought at that point we had buried the Basford proposal, but it appears that over a year later Cheshire East Council is still talking about it.”
“I then met with Lord Andrew Adonis on his tour of the UK’s rail system, along with Cheshire East Councillors Roy Cartlidge and Chris Thorley. We again made the case for the Crewe Gateway Scheme. Lord Adonis listened and confirmed the future of Crewe Railway Station on the current site and with new money for its upgrade.”
Former Leading County Councillor Dave Newton, who worked on the cross-party panel in drawing up the Crewe Gateway Scheme, said, “I am so angry that Cheshire East Council is dragging its feet on this. Is anyone surprised that the Councillor responsible for this is a Tory from Mobberley? He knows nothing about Crewe and apparently cares even less. This scheme is vital to the future prosperity of Crewe. Where are the Tory Councillors who supposedly represent Crewe and Nantwich? They appear to be sitting on their hands doing nothing.”
Cheshire East Labour Councillor Roy Cartlidge added, “Someone at Cheshire East is getting on edge about publicity again. So is this a Macclesfield Tory trying to gag Crewe people, who have a genuine concern for Crewe, from speaking out. The ‘Briefing Note’ talks about ‘the absence of a valid business case for the Crewe Rail Gateway Scheme’. Maybe someone should tell all the partners who contributed to it, such as MMU Cheshire, The Chamber of Commerce, the former Crewe & Nantwich Borough Council and the former Cheshire County Council, that they cannot produce a valid business case. I wonder if the Deputy Leader of Cheshire East agrees with his colleague’s assessment of our lack of business acumen locally?”
David Williams commented, “The business case for the Crewe Gateway Scheme has already been made and is very clear. It opens up development land for around 8,000 new jobs and a redeveloped station on the existing site is central to that scheme. The scheme is crucial if Crewe and Nantwich is to take advantage of the economic recovery.”
“I have obtained a copy of the Crewe Gateway Scheme plan, put together before Cheshire East Council took over, and I’ve sent it to the Department for Transport myself, as the minister requested. Let’s see if that gets the ball rolling. I will also be seeking meetings with some of the senior partners involved in drawing up that plan, including MMU Cheshire, the Chamber of Commerce and the North West Development Agency. We need to regain the momentum for the future prosperity of Crewe and Nantwich.”