During two separate debates on HS2 compensation and Network North planning, Sir Gavin Williamson fought firstly for further transport investments in Staffordshire, and then for land purchased for the HS2 proposals to be returned immediately.
Sir Gavin spoke ardently in both debates on behalf of Staffordshire residents, arguing in the first place that Network North funding be given to local train projects, such as the Manchester-Stoke service. This service could use the additional resources freed up by the cancellation of HS2 to extend to Stafford, allowing for greater connectivity with northern powerhouse cities.
Sir Gavin said: “With the money that will be freed up from the cancellation of [HS2], there are opportunities to make further improvements to our network. We could see the extension of the Manchester-Stoke service all the way to Stafford, which would have a real benefit for many stations across north Staffordshire.”
In another debate relating to HS2, Sir Gavin fought for those Staffordshire residents whose land had been purchased for the construction of HS2. Since the decision was made last October to halt the plans for HS2 to progress past the West Midlands, little progress has been made regarding the re-sale of the land back to the original owners. Sir Gavin made the case in the chamber for those Staffordshire families who are still waiting for their land to be returned.
Sir Gavin said: “As the new year begins, we need clarity on when land will be returned. We need to have an understanding of when the selling of land by HS2 is to start. We need to have an understanding about those people who have had their homes taken from them. When will they be in a position to buy back their homes? When will they be in a position to know what the rules are and what their future may hold?”