THE leader of Cheshire East Council has predicted that Crewe will be the busiest stop on the new HS2 line as she unveiled a new masterplan for the town at the MIPIM property festival.

Cllr Rachel Bailey said: “HS2 is a landmark moment for Crewe and the region as a whole. This once in a lifetime opportunity will trigger transformational change in UK connectivity over the next decade which will make Crewe the busiest station on the HS2 line. It has raised the expectations of the local community and the full weight of the council is behind the project.

“It’s also crucial in terms of creating employment, diversity of jobs, raising aspiration and creating opportunities in education.”

On the back of the proposed new HS2 Hub Station, Cheshire East Council, using a team led by international masterplanners Arup and property experts CBRE, have prepared a masterplan which covers 920ha of prime development land in Central Crewe.

With the advent of HS2, Crewe will be only 25 mins by train from both central Manchester and Birmingham as well as less than an hour from central London coupled with Crewe sitting within the best place to live in the UK according to Savills research, at the heart of the fastest growing local economy outside the south east and home to Bentley Motors.

The unveiling of the Crewe masterplan follows the launch of a new brand for the Northern Gateway Development Zone - the investment partnership of seven Local Authorities and two Local Enterprise Partnerships across Cheshire and Staffordshire. Crewe is an integral part of the Constellation Partnership which aims to take full advantage of the investment in high speed rail.

Cllr Bailey added: “There is no doubt that Crewe has so much going for it, surrounded as it is by incredible countryside and home already to global business like Bentley. Our vision to ensure that Crewe develops into a thriving town in its own right and moves out of the shadow of nearby big cities is focused on five key drivers.

“We will harness the quality of the local landscape and place; we will invest in existing and new infrastructure; continue to build on the existing strengths in our economy; capitalise on the connectivity delivered through high speed rail and ensure that strong political leadership will deliver for the town and across the wider Constellation area.”

The Crewe masterplan will lead to 590,000m2 of commercial development, 40,000 new jobs and enable the delivery of the right types of houses for residents and the economy, reflecting one of the prime locations in the UK at the heart of the UK and HS2 rail network.

According to Malcolm Smith, Director, Arup, Crewe will be a different place in 10 years, reinvigorated by HS2 and the town’s status as the hub of the national rail network.

He said: “Through a confident re-imagination of the assets of Crewe, combined with the potential of the new infrastructure through HS2, Crewe is on the cusp of a generation of change with an outcome of quality of life, employment and investment opportunities that is second to none.”

He added: “The masterplan will bring the town and the rail hub together.  Everything will improve. The new station will be characterised by the surrounding landscape and will be a place for both people who use it to travel and those who don't.

“The flow between town centre and rail station will be dramatically improved and new squares and spaces and a broad range of new residential property will attract more people to the town.

“HS2 is clearly a major pump primer and it will make Cheshire even more competitive for commuters, the aspiration for achievement in every sector will be raised and we predict it will help double GVA and triple the number of new jobs in a decade’s time.”