New ‘cheapskate' HS2 Euston Station: years of disruption, but what benefits?

Thursday, 4th April 2013

The original design for an entirely new Euston Station, before HS2’s U-turn

Published: 4 April, 2013

A RADICALLY scaled-back version of the HS2 railway station planned for Euston was presented to councillors in a “private meeting” at the Town Hall last night (Wednesday).

The new set of proposals will be sent for government ministers to digest in the next few weeks.

The New Journal revealed last month how the government-funded HS2 Ltd was changing direction over its massive demolition plan after realising the £33billion project was running late and already around 30 per cent over budget.

The original plan was to build a brand-new Euston Station for the controversial link to Birmingham with underground railway lines, leaving an area the size of 17 football pitches for redevelopment.

But HS2 is now proposing to keep platforms 1 to 15 intact while attaching a new six-line shed to the west of Euston Station. The new plan would leave no space for new homes or businesses but still mean 10 years of building works.

Speaking after the two-hour meeting, attended by around 20 councillors, Town Hall leader Sarah Hayward said: “The reaction at the meeting was that this is incredibly disappointing and frustrating.

“The single discernible benefit from HS2 was the over-station development. But with this new station Camden will get all of the demolition, all the construction, all the disruption, with no gains for the communities, no jobs or affordable homes.”

The new scheme would see Cardington Street and St James’s Gardens public park – a consecrated burial ground believed to hold the remains of tens of thousands of bodies – bulldozed and replaced by six new tracks.

Hundreds of homes on the Regent’s Park Estate threatened by the scheme would still be demolished under the revised plan. There is no guarantee the residents affected would be rehoused in Camden.

The “modified designs” will be sent to ministers in the next few weeks and Cllr Hayward said it was important to lobby them to think about the “long-term value” of the project, rather than simply “the costs of tracks and platforms”.

Lib Dem councillor Paul Braithwaite said: “This is a absolute cheapskate fraud against the citizens of Camden.

“They are telling us, because of cost and time considerations, they are going to leave platforms 1 to 15 as they are. Those are false constraints. What we will end up with is shabby platforms and a station bolted on to the side. There were no engineers there and that was rather insulting.”

Cllr Braithwaite has been working with The Pan Camden HS2 Alliance on drawing up proposals to build a “double-decking downwards” (DDD) station – a giant double basement beneath the current Euston Station.

The Alliance argue that the DDD would reduce the disruption to west Euston while opening up around one third of the existing station for much-needed redevelopment.

Councillors said HS2 chiefs dismissed that plan last night as it would take three years longer than the current 2026 target date.

Last night (Wednesday) HS2 Ltd Area Stakeholder Manager for Euston, Laura Wise, said: “HS2 Ltd has developed an option for the redevelopment of the station, which would retain some Network Rail platforms and with new platforms for high-speed trains.

"This option is being considered for inclusion in the draft environmental statement in the spring and would be subject to public consultation before any decision is made.

“We are committed to working closely with Camden Council to explore ways of minimising the impact and optimising the benefits of HS2 for the borough.”

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