Business leaders say the Government needs to get its case back on track if it is to convince them about the need for its proposed High Speed 2 rail link.

Around 50 businesses heard the case for the £34 billion link with London put by HS2 and Advantage West Midlands at a special event organised by the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce.

Jerry Marshall, a local marketing expert and Chamber member, spoke against the proposal at the meeting.

But Chamber chief executive Louise Bennett said that more would have to be done if the Government was to persuade business there were enough benefits to outweigh the costs.

She said: “The whole reason for this meeting was to allow our members to hear the hard commercial facts about HS2 and why Government believes it will be beneficial for Coventry and Warwickshire and the wider region.

“Many members had heard the environmental reasons why people do not want the development, but they wanted to hear the business case.

“That was simply not conveyed strongly enough. If there is a good case for the line, it did not come across for many in the room and that was a lost opportunity for those who believe HS2 is vital.

“We will, as a membership organisation, be guided very strongly by the wishes of our members and will be in a position to contribute to the consultation exercise early next year.

“Business people can be pretty pragmatic and I sensed that many had come with an open mind, to find out the facts and then shape their opinion on what they heard. I doubt many came out with a burning conviction that the project was a must for the regional or national economy.”

Stephen McFarlane from HS2 and Roger Allonby from AWM outlined the case for the development, saying that it was likely to bring a better than two-to-one return on investment.

Eighteen trains an hour would run between Birmingham and London. They would carry up to 1,100 passengers, would be 400 metres long and could reach speeds of 250 an hour, reducing travelling times from one hour 29 minutes, to 49 minutes.

Opponents to the scheme dispute the Government’s financial figures, feel the rail could have an adverse impact on Coventry station and the city centre as well as damaging the environment.