Crewe Railway Station frontage - May 2020 (1) (1)

Politicians and business leaders across Cheshire have welcomed the launch of a competition to find the home of the new Great British Railways HQ and have backed Crewe to clinch the honour.

The town has been featured in the competition announcement video with broadcaster Michael Portillo championing.

The new Great British Railways HQ will be based outside of London and could bring many high-skilled jobs to the winning location.

Crewe and Nantwich MP Dr Kieran Mullan, Cheshire East Council leader Cllr Sam Corcoran , and chair of Cheshire LEP Clare Heywood have all thrown their weight behind the town’s bid.

Michael Portillo highlighted Crewe as “a great railway town, it was known as Oak Farm until the railways transformed it”.

Locations across the country with strong, historical links to the railway are encouraged to make the case for why they should be the new home of Great British Rail.

The GBR Transition Team will shortlist the best applications in May, and a public vote will help determine the winning location.

Bids to house the new HQ will be measured against six criteria:

* Alignment to Levelling Up objectives
* Connected and easy to get to
* Opportunities for Great British Railways
* Railway heritage and links to the network
* Value for money
* Public support

Local authorities, MPs and business groups are being encouraged to drive forward campaigns for why their community should be the #DestinationGBR by visiting www.gbrtt.co.uk/hq<http://www.gbrtt.co.uk/hq>

Dr Mullan said: “Crewe’s strong, historical links to our nation’s railways make it an ideal location for the new Great British Railways headquarters which is why I have been championing us from the day this was announced.

“It is great to see the competition launch and I know there is a real excitement locally at the prospect.”

“This HQ would bring new highly skilled jobs to the area, level up and create opportunities for residents, and cement Crewe’s status as the true home of British rail.

“I urge local residents, leaders, and business groups to get behind our bid – and prove to the country why Crewe should be the home of Great British Railways. We will be coming up with some great ways for people to show their support-watch this space.”

Railway champion Pete Waterman, who confirmed his support for the bid, said: “Crewe is the place. It has to be.

“We have such a rich history, we have HS2 on the way, we are so well connected. I’ll be backing the bid in any way I can.”

Cheshire East Council leader Cllr Sam Corcoran said: “We welcome the news and the opportunity to demonstrate why Crewe should be the home of Great British Railways.

“Crewe has a proud rail heritage and has long been seen as the gateway to the north, making it the perfect location for GBR’s headquarters.

“Rail is in the blood of so many people in Crewe and bringing the Great British Railways headquarters to the town will create huge opportunities for levelling up and creating skilled jobs that will build on the town’s proud rail heritage.”

Connor Naismith, Crewe and Nantwich Labour’s campaign co-ordinator and Crewe West Labour councillor, said” “This award was almost made for Crewe.

“The town’s history and the railway go hand in hand.

“The effort to bring the Headquarters for Great British Rail here will receive the full weight of our support.

“It will bring much needed jobs to the town, and combined with HS2 and the wider regeneration plans, will put Crewe on the map and restore a sense of civic pride.

“We now stand ready to promote and actively mobilise people in support of Crewe’s credentials to win this award, in the hope that the government will recognise this.”

Clare Hayward MBE, Chair of Cheshire and Warrington LEP, said: “We are keen to bring the Great British Railways Headquarters to Crewe and are also ideally placed, with a large existing rail industry in and around Crewe, as well as extensive local supply chains.

“The GBR headquarters combined with HS2 will provide huge opportunities to drive investment not just in Crewe but across the whole of Cheshire and Warrington.

“Driving innovation in areas such as net zero is key to growing our economy and this opportunity has the potential to ensure that we are at the forefront of the future of rail for the whole of the country.

“We look forward to working closely with Cheshire East to ensure we create a compelling and ultimately successful bid to secure the GBR headquarters for Crewe.”

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