Following information from HS2 Ltd that they “are not able to accept further submissions to the consultation once the deadline has passed and will not be included in the final report, these comments will then be dealt with internally and any questions asked will be responded to. ” I wrote to the Chief Exec of Stoke on Trent and the City Council Leader Cllr Pervez.
On the 19th March I recieved the below joint email from John van de Laarschot | Chief Executive and Cllr Pervez
Dear Mr Norris
Thank you for your email. I note you also copied Cllr Pervez with your enquiry and so this response is a joint response.
I can confirm that Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s submission was received by HS2 before the consultation closed and is currently being considered by officials. At a meeting with the Department for Transport last week we were asked to prepare further detailed, technical evidence to support our submission. Although the new Chairman of HS2 Ltd spoke out yesterday with his personal view on where a hub station may be, this was just that, a personal view. He does not have the authority to make a decision. The final route and any decision on where a hub station may be will be taken by the Secretary of State after due consideration.
Our submission has been recognised as being compelling, technically viable, faster, cheaper and more environmentally sound than the Consultation Route. We remain very much in the frame and will work with the DfT to provide information as directed by them which supports the very best outcome for the city, the region and UK plc.
John van de Laarschot | Chief Executive
To me this sounded very promising that the DfT are indeed supportive of this bid, to the extent that they are requesting Stoke on Trent City Council to provide extra information after the consultation deadline. I was wondering if this is the message that was being relayed to Elected Members? Which would explain the huge support to press ahead with the ongoing technical reports and cost of bringing in additional consultants at upwards to £800,000.
But this picture the Chief Executive and Cllr Pervez Paints does not seem to be the same picture the DfT have of the recent meeting, they say
In March 2014, DfT officials met with Stoke on Trent City Council officials at their request to discuss their Phase Two consultation response. The Council officials ran through a summary of their response and offered to send further outputs from their ongoing engineering and technical analysis which were still being developed. In due course a summary of the Phase Two consultation responses will be published.
It would seem there was no request from DfT, yes they are willing to accept further evidence but as HS2 Ltd say this will not be included in the final report how much weight will it carry.