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Liverpool mayor slams 'disappointing and illogical' HS3 plans

But over on the Wirral there's a welcome

Written by . Published on October 27th 2014.

Liverpool mayor slams 'disappointing and illogical' HS3 plans

LIVERPOOL Mayor Joe Anderson this afternoon criticised proposals for a northern rail blueprint, saying the city was being by-passed.

The Mayor stormed: “Far from a One North Agenda the Government and HS2 Ltd are putting forward a Two North solution which is excluding many of our northern cities and communities from the promise of greater economic prosperity.”

The Mayor’s views are broadly in line with Liverpool Confidential’s own commentary on plans to connect cities west to east across the north. But the heavy emphasis is on a fast cross Pennine rail link between Manchester and Leeds.

The Mayor’s "grim up North" response was in sharp contrast to the broad welcome given to the so-called HS3 proposals by Cllr Phil Davies, leader of Wirral Council. He is also chairman of the Liverpool City Region’s Combined Authority, the sub-regional "cabinet" covering Liverpool and its five neighbouring boroughs.

Phil_DaviesPhil Davies: HappyCllr Davies said: “It is clear that the economic case we have made has been recognised, and we welcome the challenge to quickly complete the work already ongoing with our partners through One North, which will establish the blueprint for rail connectivity across the North and which is now nearing completion.”

Mayor Anderson, though, described today’s  HS3 announcement by Prime Minister David Cameron and Sir David Higgins of HS2 Ltd  as “both disappointing and illogical.”

The Mayor said: “I am profoundly disappointed that despite a great deal of rhetoric about a northern powerhouse, this announcement offers no new connectivity or capacity to Liverpool.

“We are once again being by-passed by an investment that will fail to realise its supposed purpose.”

Mayor Anderson told Liverpool Confidential he strongly supports the HS3 idea, but is adamant that it must go beyond the Manchester / Leeds connection proposed today.

Joe AndersonJoe Anderson: Fuming “Liverpool has to be an integral part of any meaningful HS3 project. We are the UK’s western trading gateway, and as David Higgins recognises, the transformational impact of our investment in the Liverpool 2 port expansion on the North's freight-handling  can only be achieved through additional rail capacity.

“A high speed line to Liverpool would give us that capacity, connect us to HS2 and be the logical first phase for HS3.

“We built the world’s first inter-city railway to Manchester nearly 200 years ago, and that link remains the obvious logical starting point for the creation of a Northern Powerhouse – two neighbouring cities, with close economic links, strong passenger demand and with the critical mass and global connectivity to rival London. I am absolutely determined over the coming months to make and develop Liverpool’s case. This is a vital cause and an argument that we must win.”

Cllr Davies said he welcomed the Higgins report. He said: “There is an opportunity to deliver a new high speed route that could, in one go, connect the Liverpool City Region to the HS2 network, as well as Manchester and Leeds.

“Partners from the public and private sectors in the Liverpool City Region are united in our determination to secure full High Speed Rail connectivity into Liverpool for the benefit of the city region and beyond and we will continue to rise to the challenge, now putting forward a clear investment plan identifying the best way to do so.”

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44 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Katie54October 27th 2014.

Anderson again fails to actually engage his brain before going off half-cocked - the comment last week that he's too stupid to run the city really is true. This isn't actually an HS-anything, the HS3 label is something dreamed up by the press.It's an express. The proposal is a fairly modest one and something they should have done years ago - build another track so that trains can go straight to Leeds instead of meandering through West Yorkshire taking an hour. It complements recent work to speed up travel time between here and Manchester. Nor does it occur to him that it will also benefit us to be able to get to Leeds in just over an hour instead of the 2 it takes at the moment. Why doesn't he rant like this a bit closer to home - at Ged Anderson and his self-serving mates?

12 Responses: Reply To This...
John BradleyOctober 27th 2014.

The Liverpool Manchester via Chat Moss link, when electrified will provide the kind of times talked about, but it really needs to be Quaded if it is going to deliver real benefits. There are places to the West of Liverpool in North Wales and we need faster connections to them. There is also the problem of questions to East Anglia, whet Liverpool needs has not been fully addressed. What we are seeing is the implementation of the Manchester Hub. No one has gone really addressed the needs of Liverpool. For this "HS3" plan we need more station capacity. peterirate.blogspot.com/…/a-pan-northern-railway-or-trans-pennine.html… peterirate.blogspot.com/…/liverpool-to-norwich-via-1980s.html…

Clive MayOctober 29th 2014.

Hi Katie, I read your post and the same from others on here with interest. I live and work in Birmingham and I mean no disrespect to you but I feel that part of what you are saying is wrong. I have a link to Liverpool by way of having lived and worked in the city and on the Wirral. I also do business in the city and spend leisure time there. Two week ago there was an article in the Sunday Times extolling what the northern cities were doing in order to create the northern powerhouse. A week later, in the very same paper the announcement regarding HS3 was being discussed but the only two cities mentioned were Manchester & Leeds. Whether any of us choose to accept it or not, these are the two cities that are being pushed forward as the northern powerhouse. Liverpool, Sheffield & Hull are very secondary considerations. Whether you like him or loathe him Uncle Joe is right to make some noise and you know something else? If the leaders of the other boroughs realised how much is at stake here, they might consider joining forces with Uncle Joe and start making a bit of noise themselves instead of looking to their own political agendas. Another point for discussion. Here in Birmingham, no one considers that HS2 is going to change the economic face of the city or end up being the be all and end all, quite the opposite, people with the skills will get the train down to London. Consider that since HS2 was announced, that there has been no influx of businesses deciding to relocate here whilst office & commercial space is still cheap. Why is that? I think the reason is that they don't want or need to be here and prefer to have a presence in the South & North and that means London & Manchester, just my view and one hopes that I might be wrong.

Clive MayOctober 29th 2014.

Another thing, Cllr Davies thinks that the case has been made and recognised? He is deluded in that view. He would have been right if the line starting from Liverpool, through to Manchester, on to Leeds, Sheffield & Hull was announced. Recognition of the strong economic case to link Manchester & Leeds was made by Dr Higgins, the rest of the northern cities? I don't think they got a look in here and to a degree that is being endorsed by David Higgins view. Only Manchester & Leeds will be the big winners economically and socially unless some one stands up and is counted now. Mark me down as wrong and I hope that I am!

AnonymousOctober 29th 2014.

Hi Clive. I take your point about the media focus, and it's something we need to challenge, also because I think it probably is based to some extent on prejudice. The point I was making about our Mayor was that this kind of knee-jerk ranting is really unhelpful, because it sounds like ill-informed sour grapes. As other people have pointed out, he does not have any power over this decision, but can hope to influence it. So it surely makes more sense to welcome the initiative while making sure you make the point that the whole idea is to connect all the major Northern cities up, not just the two that the media have fixed on. You're right, I don't like him. This wouldn't matter if he did a good job, but I and all sorts of other people are increasingly concerned because some of the decisions he has made have been truly awful. Examples include selling off bits of parks to builders for "executive" homes, when there is plenty of good quality housing on the market and the real need is for social housing. Spending council reserves to buy an admittedly beautiful and historic building to turn into a cruise terminal before you've even got the feasibility studies and technical reports - which in fact show that the proposal isn't actually viable. Closing most libraries, especially in the poorest and most deprived part of the city, based on cost figures that do not stand up. Suddenly deciding to suspend bus lanes to see what difference it would make (and never mind the money that the city will lose as a result), and the latest, which is my particular bugbear, the total fiasco that is LDL. Like your arrangement with Capita in Birmingham, only a lot lot worse. He bullies the rest of the Labour group relentlessly, and no-one will criticise or question anything, even in scrutiny committees, which makes a mockery of the whole thing. And any opposition councillors who dare raise anything in meetings of the full Council are abused and belittled. With all this, would you like him? Would you like him "standing up" for you?

Katie54October 29th 2014.

Apologies, the comment above is actually mine.

Clive MayOctober 29th 2014.

Hi Katie, great response and I note what you say with interest, seems like the problems we face in our respective cities seem similar. Can I ask, is Uncle Joe's attitude the reason why the other councils of Halton, Wirral, Knowsley and Sefton don't seem as willing to support? Don't start me off about Capita! I really hope that I and others are proved wrong about the future for Liverpool but in the meantime, I will keep supporting from down here. From a sentimental perspective, Liverpool was good to me in my teens, it welcomed me and gave me a home. Even though I live a distance away, my love and support for the city and it's people never diminishes

AnonymousOctober 30th 2014.

Yes it is. They know he's a bully who wants to hog the limelight but doesn't do his homework (to put it charitably, the alternative is that he actually isn't that bright...). Read up about his tantrum when they wanted someone else to lead the Combined Authority - which is entirely understandable, given his awful antics. Just as well we are pretty much ignored by the national media, because he would have made us all look ridiculously childish. But there are positive things going on that are nothing to do with him, and hopefully, potential investors etc. will just ignore him ......

John BradleyOctober 30th 2014.

Liverpool has been led by a collection of colourless, non entities, who did nothing. Creeps like Storey. Nobody has come up with any names to replace Joe. Personally, I believe that the only way to get a leader or the ability and class we requires is for it to be been an elected LCR leader, with big enough area and powers, to attract someone on the way up, who ambition if high office and sees this as an important demonstration of ability. Liverpool has suffered from timidity for to long.

AnonymousOctober 30th 2014.

Never mind colourful, what about competence?

John BradleyOctober 30th 2014.

Doesn't seem any less competent than his predecessors.

AnonymousOctober 31st 2014.

His predecessors were figurehead mayors, and the council leader was accountable to the council the problem with Joe is hes not accountable. making the same level of (in)competence much more of a problem. regardless of the quality of his predecessors and him you cant help but get the feeling Liverpool deserves better.

John BradleyOctober 31st 2014.

They weren't so much held to account as smothered. The council would rather have spent years arguing over something for minor political posturing than actually do anything.

AnonymousOctober 27th 2014.

I'm neither a supporter or an apologist for Joe Anderson, but Katie54 has, I feel, got it wrong. Mayor Anderson immediately read the small print and immediately realised Liverpool is being sold down the River (Irwell). Manchester and Leeds, by the proposals for HS2 and HS3 have been anointed as the Kings of the North. Liverpool won't even rank as a prince, more of a serf, under these proposals. This has to be sorted quickly because once routes are in place, the business world will make their plans based on that. Unless the Mayor wins the Battle for Liverpool, the city region will be out, to borrow a word or two from Jim Royle, on its arse. You go out there Joe and kick some Manc and York arses.

5 Responses: Reply To This...
Paul WardOctober 27th 2014.

Most of us, this site included, came to the conclusion long ago that the plans were deeply flawed from a Liverpool point of view. That they're deeply flawed from any point of view is another matter.

AnonymousOctober 27th 2014.

Spurious nonsense anon. If you're going to improve the trans Pennine link, would you first improve the bit that benefits most users (i.e. the bit in the middle) or one of the bits to either side? This is the first phase and a common sense approach which will ultimately benefit Liverpool. If Anderson continues with this 'beggar thy neighbour' narrative in his typically incoherent style he risks making himself an even bigger liability, only doing damage to the city's cause.

Katie54October 27th 2014.

Precisely. Anderson's reaction is petty and small-minded - and sounds it. Instead of winging about this quite reasonable proposal, why on earth doesn't he (and the other people lobbying on our behalf) make more of the fact that the exhaustive and expensive feasibility studies carried out for HS2 not only made a compelling case for a Liverpool branch, but didn't even consider Leeds. What happened? When and how did we get booted out of the equation to be replaced by Leeds? Where is the economic case for this (because there was a compelling one for the Liverpool link, which appears to have been ignored) ? Surely that is a much more urgent and potentially more persuasive argument.

AnonymousOctober 29th 2014.

Businesses long ago decided that Manchester and Leeds were preferable to Liverpool.

Oldham EchoOctober 29th 2014.

Maybe that has something to do with the fact that The Yorkshire Post and the Manchester Evening News don't believe it is in the best interests of their cities' economies to splatter gun and knife-toting nonentities and scallies all over their front pages night after night, year after year

AnonymousOctober 28th 2014.

Mayor Anderson isn't being petty or small minded at all. Does anybody really think Manchester gives a stuff whether Liverpool is connected to HS2, or even faster links across the Pennines. This is the same Manchester that promised Liverpool riches if we backed their bid to host the Commonwealth Games. We did give our support and we were stuffed then, not even an egg-and-spoon race. As my old gran used to say you can trust a thief, but can never trust a Manc.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 28th 2014.

Grow up. No-one has said anything about what Manchester may or may not care about. This isn't anything to do with what they do or don't think about us, and it is ludicrous to suggest that they don't want faster links across the pennines. The whole point is that these initiatives must (and look like they will) benefit everyone across the region.

Manchester TartOctober 28th 2014.

Between Manchester and Leeds there is only a fraction of passengers compared to the two million people travelling between Liverpool and Manchester every day in cramped Calcutta-style trains that aren't fit for purpose. They also have to pay through the nose for the pleasure since Northern Rail hiked the fares. This must take its toll on commuters' work related performance and the knock on effects to business etc. Cheaper fares, fewer stops, more trains, more carriages are what's needed. Why we haven't taken action to alleviate all this is a mystery. The electrification of the line through Newton le Willows is a start but for anyone living on the northern line from Hunts Cross to Formby it is not helpful at all. Let's see more immediate investment and action on express trains going from South Parkway to Manchester.

Katie54October 28th 2014.

The problem with this is that the official information does not back this up. Have a look at this www.gov.uk/…/rail-passengers-crowding-2012-revised.pdf… This is clearly why they have prioritised the Leeds-Manchester section of the proposed HS3. Unless there are other reliable figures contradicting this, it is pointless to gripe about this project. Far better, and more constructive, to welcome the initiative, while pressing for further investment across the whole crosscountry route. And to use the abundant data that's out there to make the case for a Liverpool spur for HS2.

Judith PattersonOctober 28th 2014.


1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 28th 2014.


Iain WilliamsOctober 28th 2014.

Spot on Anderson. More fighting talk needed on this matter or we might as well all give up and become a suburb of Manchester.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 28th 2014.

This doesn't make sense. This whole powerhouse of the North thing will make us all into suburbs of Manchester, won't it?

AnonymousOctober 28th 2014.

How to miss the point in one easy lesson... I give up!

AnonymousOctober 28th 2014.

We might end up as a suburb of Manchester at this rate! FF'S, that's like 40 miles away, almost a foreign country and at least a day by pony and trap.

mickeydrippin'October 28th 2014.

At the moment, HS3 is only at the "vague" concept stage with no firm decision on routeing or any mention of overall costing. Messrs. Cameron and Higgins made the announcement in Leeds and therefore, they had to talk about, what is, the busier section of the present Trans-Pennine route between there and Manchester. I think we should all wait until concrete plans for HS3 are published instead of screaming about a further anti-Liverpool bias. Joe Anderson and local businesses should continue putting immense pressure upon the Government for a high-speed link into HS2 before panicking about HS3.

AnonymousOctober 28th 2014.

Agreed, HS3 is a red herring and will never happen; upgrading the route and electrifying it all the way from Newcastle to Liverpool WILL happen, and will be more than adequate; trains will get faster, and the travelling times between the big four cities of the North will be acceptable. We must concentrate on not missing out on HS2.

Green TambourineOctober 28th 2014.

This HS3 is horrible. It means drilling another enormous hole through our lovely hills. What will happen to the wildlife? Think of the baby rabbits asleep in their burrows when a nasty train crashes through. Make HS3 History!!!

RobertOctober 28th 2014.

A new HS3 line from Liverpool to Manchester may be the only way the city will be able to justify a business case to connect to HS2 down to London (the 20 mile stretch out of the city to Lymm where HS2 will plunge east into Manchester Airport' station). Virgin services have struggled to return over the years, so outlay for 5 or 6 £150m train sets ahead of franchise and generating a return does not look such a sound bet? Yet our business case is very, very late. Back in 2007 Labour announced HS rail plans and excluded Liverpool YET not one MP / Cllr / business head stood up for the city. NOT ONE. Go troll through the archives. Naturally the Tories went for their 'S' shaped line to Manc then Leeds through the Pennines, which has morphed into a fork to Leeds / Manc north of Brum. Our business case is also fractured, what with LEP / City Region squabbling, Merseytravel being tasked in compling a business case by Joe Anderson, yet having their authority stripped by his one man 'gut feeling' bully boy tactics - the kind of which other city leaders, our neighbouring Council leaders AND our city business leaders turn their backs to, reference the need for the business community's 20 Miles More campaign. The shallow, biased bus lane suspension (before and after studies for fair analysis - only Joe would have lost face, nobody else so why have fairness when you have all conquering local political power..) has yet to hit home in terms of financial reductions from the Dept4Transport, nor were the future EU fines for failing air quality factored into the 500-page report.. Little wonder Joe Anderson in taking Liverpool down the go it alone route is being ignored by the coalition Govt. Lets recall Merseytram and how the Labour Govt pulled the rug from the equally Labour run / palley Merseytravel. If Liverpool cannot rely on its own political ilk to deliver from on high when in Govt, then quite simply Liverpool's communicating voice is all wrong. And the voice drowning out all others is Uncle Joe.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 29th 2014.

It's not just wrong, it's totally self-defeating. As things stand, no local authority has any power whatsoever in any of these decisions or policies he rails about. We may want to change things, but that's the way it is. The only thing we can do is try to influence things - make a persuasive case for change, etc. Incontinent ranting won't do this - and is the reason we are and will continue to be side-lined, nothing to do with anti-Liverpool prejudice or Manc duplicity or anything else. Who in their right mind would want to deal with this kind of ill-informed bullying?Because he doesn't just bully and shout, he doesn't even bother to read things properly before he reacts to them. You have to wonder who if anyone is advising him - and hope that Labour HQ will take a bit more notice of what's going on here and take some action.

Alan BallOctober 29th 2014.

One imagines Ed Milliband would roll over and whimper if confronted by gobshite Anderson in full flow. Who can advise a man who has an ego bigger than a tank? For years we had a Lib Dem council who were jeered at and ignored by the Labour Government. Now we have Labour Uncle Joe who is ignored by the Coalition government. The risk is that if Labour takes power in its present form it too will ignore Anderson. Then what? Robert and anonymous are both quite right about Joe and his ill informed bullying.

AnonymousOctober 29th 2014.

You're right, they will ignore him, until they no longer can. If they paid any attention to what he's actually doing (apart from rant at the Coalition), they would see that there's nothing very Labour - new or old, about what he actually does. Which is why he has installed Leads accountable only to him (and not to any scrutiny committee, toothless though they are at the moment), uses the Mayoral Select Committee for self-congratulation and general bragging, and enforces a strict whip on all the Labour councillors. What he does is not Labour policy, and was not in his manifesto or anyone else's. His use of the whip for just about everything is totally out of order. It's an abuse of democracy, and will ultimately cause great damage to the Labour Party.

Emma BOctober 30th 2014.

Anon - you should form an Ind Lab Group then, but not with the boy Jake or Martin the ginger whinger. It only takes 2 to tango or 4 to become the Opposition.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Alan BallOctober 30th 2014.

Joe makes no secret that his big ambition is to have a 100 % Labour council. He makes Hatton and the Militants look like The Double Deckers. But this time there is no Kinnock to call him to order.

AnonymousOctober 30th 2014.

Forgive my ignorance, but who exactly is Martin the ginger whinger?

John BradleyOctober 30th 2014.

Dobo Dobson, Liverpool Candidate for Riverside.

John BradleyOctober 31st 2014.

Well it looks like we have been pushed further to the margin. www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/…/revealed-greater-manchester-elected-boris-style-8031493…

John EdmondsonNovember 7th 2014.

I was interested to see that the leader of Wirral (and the Region?) is broadly in favour of HS3. The disparity between planned investment in London (Crossrail, Crossrail2, etc.) and the North-west is extraordinary; as is the fact that the MP for Tatton is Chancellor. One does sometimes wonder why the good people of Wilmslow voted for him? (Yes I think we know the answer to that one). Personally I think that the HS3 proposals are a red herring. A major issue is improving freight capacity from the new container port to points south and south-east, while relieving the pressure on Lime Street; and the constraints of the sandstone cuttings through which the trains pass are bound to make any solution expensive. In the meantime the superport will happen, and the roads would have to take the strain. A more strategic view might well be to extend HS2 from Crewe to Birkenhead. Don't laugh: there is plenty of vacant land there for a super-duper transport interchange. With ample space for quad track, the Crewe-Chester-Birkenhead route is far more direct, hence faster, than the proposed dog-leg via Warrington. Add in a Mersey Barrage kitted out like The Bridge, and you've solved the superport rail freight issue.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Clive MayNovember 8th 2014.

I like your post, it says much of what is an issue beneath the surface, so to speak. The HS3 idea is only that, an idea and I am not 100% convinced it will happen but the lines of what is going where are being drawn and it is this aspect that should worry us all. We are seeing a clear picture that Leeds & Manchester are the two cities being offered up as the Northern Powerhouse and it is right that the debate over the future of Liverpool and the wider region is discussed loudly and messages sent out to the decision makers that they need to change their economic viewpoint. I agree with you that the port will & is happening but I m also worried that I am hearing no news of any shipping lines making a commitment to the facility when it opens, next year I think ? All in all, I think the port development has the ability to change the complexion of the arguments for just Leeds & Manchester being considered as the economic drivers of a rejuvenated north. Liverpool, as I see it, has got to go that extra distance and show the economic case clearly and not just in words but in reality and that may just be coming around the corner with the new port. Liverpool has the ability to really upset the cozy tea-party between the other two cities and I don't mean by shouting or whining, just plain old simple showing them that the region is resurgent, economically viable and ready to take it's place at the table.

Josie MullenNovember 8th 2014.

There is a wider discussion here. The people of Liverpool were denied a referendum on whether we wanted a mayor or not because he said that, according to his discussions with the government- was that Pickles or Heseltine or who? - he could get a great deal for Liverpool. RUBBISH, He has failed to get investment after investment,he recently said that Liverpool got one of the worst financial deals from the government. He also said that he was " profoundly disappointed by HS3 proposals" "which sees a Manchester- Leeds connection. In terms of devolving power and budgets Liverpool has been completely overlooked and recent news from Osborne has indicated that Manchester is going to be the 'Powerhouse' of the North West. Please read the Ex Urbis report on his refusal to hold a referendum. If my information is correct the vast majority of cities that had a referendum voted against a mayoral system. It is becoming very like a Stalinist state. We are not permitted to know how much the Council got for Millenium House, we are not permitted to see the Dutch report on the liner terminal/ Cunard building fiasco. We are not permitted to see the KPMG report on Liverpool Direct and it lack of accountability. Big Dave from Liverpool Direct is going to be left to oversee the closure of the BT/Liverpool Direct contract when the very same man is being investigated about his dealings with Lancashire CC. Joe Anderson ranted on for years about Liverpool Direct, he even asked for a police investigation whenHogan-Howe was in charge and then when he becomes leader/ mayor all of a sudden everything in the Liverpool Direct garden is Rosie .Now he has suddenly changed his mind and Liverpool could save £10.000.000 a year by going in- house. Does he think we are all bloody stupid!

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