Thursday, 31 January 2013


January 2013

At MRLC’s committee meeting on the 29th January we discussed the progress of the petition which our local MP Fiona Bruce is putting before Parliament; the possibility of our taking advantage of the new £20 million Government funding for the opening of new railway stations in the UK, and Monday’s announcement of the route for phase two of High Speed 2 (HS2) which, in this area, will run from the West Coast Main  Line near Minshull Vernon and then veer off towards Manchester, passing very close to Middlewich and Winsford at Stanthorne and Bostock.
MRLC is in the process of passing on the last few additional signatures on our petition which Congleton MP Fiona Bruce intends to put before Parliament.
The petition calls for the introduction of a new passenger service from Manchester to Crewe via Northwich, a new station at Middlewich, and Sandbach.
Fiona hopes to be able to present the petition in the near future.
The Government recently announced the creation of a new £20 million fund for the building of new stations in the UK.
The stumbling block as far as MRLC is concerned is that schemes applying for this funding need to be, as the Government puts it, ‘shovel ready’ – i.e. ready to go ahead and with the support of local authorities, train companies and Network Rail.
We do, of course, have the support of both Cheshire Councils and of Northern Rail who will be the operators of the new service, but the problem lies with Network Rail who are asking for a large sum of money merely to look at our consultants’ report.
Cheshire East Councillor Mike Parsons has agreed to talk to Fiona Bruce about this matter and see if anything can be done to access some of this money for Middlewich.
We also talked about the rather controversial matter of the new High Speed Rail Link, phase two of which will run from Crewe to Manchester, passing very close to Middlewich and Winsford in the process.
MRLC feels that the fact that the ‘local’ station for  HS2 in this area will be Crewe does nothing but strengthen the case for the new Manchester-Middlewich-Crewe service.
There will be much talk in the years to come about developing local lines to ‘feed into’ the HS2 lines and we very much hope that the Middlewich line will be one of them.
This does not, however, indicate that we believe that the new Middlewich service will ‘follow on’ from the development of the HS2 line.
Our new service, and our new station are needed now, and will be needed whether or not the new High Speed lines are built.

Monday, 28 January 2013


Illustration: ARUP/H.M. Govt.
Here's a part of the official Government map showing the proposed route for the High Speed 2 line (phase 2) in our area, It can be seen that the proposed new line. which will run in tunnels underneath Crewe, will follow the formation of the existing West Coast Main Line out of Crewe until it reaches a point just south of the existing bridge at Minshull Vernon which carries the Middlewich-Nantwich Road over the  Main Line. This is very close to the Verdin Arms pub and restaurant.
The HS2 line then veers off to the east of the WCML and makes its way through Stanthorne and over the Middlewich-Northwich road and the Sandbach-Northwich Branch on its way to Manchester.
According to reports there will be no 'new' station at Crewe on the HS2 line but the town will be served by a 'spur' from the new line to the WCML. As both lines seem to be on the same alignment, with the HS2 line running in a tunnel underneath the WCML it is far from clear how this will work.Presumably the connection to allow HS2 trains into Crewe via the existing line will be some distance south of Crewe station.


Monday, 7 January 2013


Photo: Fiona Bruce

Once again it has been a great privilege to serve the residents of Middlewich as your MP.
The victory against the American multinational Covanta’s plans to site a massive incinerator in Middlewich was one everyone in the town can be proud of – it really was a whole community fight.
I was pleased to challenge the plans directly with the Prime Minister in Parliament and at the Public Inquiry. Well done to all who played their part!
A big hand too to Middlewich residents campaigning in different ways for a better society – like the new RAMP – Residents Action for Middlewich Parks group – of which I am delighted to have been invited to become Patron; Middlewich Mothers’ Union campaign to protect children from the influence of pornography and the ever determined Middlewich Rail Link Campaigners who have collected 2000 signatures for their petition to Parliament which I will proudly present this year.
An important new initiative was the first Middlewich Expo, showcasing the area’s great and varied local businesses – the Expo was promoted by the Town Council, Middlewich Vision and East Cheshire Chamber of Commerce and Enterprise – a great example of the strengthening Partnership working between public and private sectors, social enterprises and voluntary groups in the interests of the whole community.
Middlewich life continues to go from strength to strength.
One of the highlights of the year was seeing the high standard of Design and Technology and artwork at Middlewich High School. I also very much enjoyed this year’s events and festivals such as the FAB ( formerly Folk and Boat) Festival, WWII weekend; new Artisan markets, bulb planting with the Clean Team, meeting with the Street Pastors, the Middlewich and District Annual Show and super performances by the Middlewich Youth Theatre, Middlewich Concert Orchestra, Middlewich Concert Society and the African Choir at St Michael’s – to name but a few of the such events which make Middlewich a very genuine and much loved community – not least by me.
I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year.
Fiona Bruce MP