Business and community leaders in Stoke-on-Trent are calling on the government to choose the city for an HS2 station.
The city said the “Stoke Route” will be faster, greener and cheaper than any other option for the £50 billion controversial project, while claiming it will save the taxpayer £2 billion.
The current HS2 plans would see the western leg between Birmingham and Manchester routed via Crewe – with no stop proposed in Staffordshire. This would also see the track carving through 45 miles of countryside in the county.
HS2 chairman David Higgins is due to make his recommendations on 27 October, before MPs make a decision.
Stoke-on-Trent says route would deliver around £200m extra growth for the region
Video outlines the advantages of an HS2 hub in Stoke-on-Trent over its rival city Crewe
“Routing HS2 via Stoke-on-Trent delivers equivalent or faster journey times than the alternatives,” said Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership chairman, David Frost. “It connects more people earlier, it delivers more impact for less cost for the tax payer. Stoke-on-Trent provides the best option for HS2.”
Stoke’s rival bid is the city of Crewe, which has proposed building an out of town station called Crewe Parkway, while Stoke-on-Trent is proposing a city centre station linking up to its university quarter.
Council leader Mohammed Pervez said: "The Stoke route would generate about £200m extra growth for the regional economy, while Crewe would not lose out.
"In contrast, the emerging Crewe scheme would generate much smaller gains and isolate the city economy. It could even have a net negative impact on the regional economy,” he added.
However, Cheshire East Council leader Michael Jones told the BBC having the HS2 hub station at Crewe made more sense.
"Crewe is the gateway to the north, south east and west and has the 360 degree connectivity needed for such a major project," he said.
"We have always urged Stoke to work with us to ensure that the region benefits as a whole from the £1.5 billion worth of inward investment that would follow and we stand by this.
"Work with us, we say, and not against us and Stoke will benefit too.”
Construction of HS2 is due to start in 2017, with phase one from London to Birmingham due to be completed by 2026.