A document produced by Cheshire East Council has suggested plans for an HS2 Hub Station are unviable in their current form.
In reference to the proposed HS2 Hub Station the document says:
“The Council could choose to continue to progress the original pre-Covid scheme. However, the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and uncertainties about the future commercial development market mean that this scheme would not be viable as business rate revenues would likely be realised much later. In addition, the original scheme would require significant upfront borrowing by the Council and therefore it would need to service the debt out of existing budgets until the business rate revenues were sufficient to cover it.”
The document cites a lack of revenue and income from business rates due to the Coronavirus as a factor.
The revised plan would see a new station entrance built during the revised later phases.
The review shows the council are looking at a phased approached to the hub station development although this would increase the overall cost and timescale.
Whilst a phased approach is likely to add additional cost to the overall scheme, it enables the Council to limit its maximum financial exposure and prudential borrowing over time. However, in the development of the scheme going forward, opportunities for passive provision of future interventions to minimise further rail possession requirements, will be explored subject to affordability.
The development of the HS2 hub station is part of a larger plan to bring investment to the town along with a redeveloped town centre.
The full document can be viewed here.
The current town centre is set to be demolished although there is no planning application in place to build on the site.