Still eyeing the land round Euston

In a letter sent earlier this month, Patrick McLouglin spurned local suggestions as to how to rebuild Euston to met the need of passengers and the local community. Local councillors and campaigners have been in long discussions with HS2 Ltd and Network Rail about building a ‘double deck’ station which would avoid demolishing hundreds of homes in the area.

Writing to Sarah Hayward,a local councillor, McLoughlin wrote:

“Experts from HS2 Ltd and Network Rail have looked at this in detail and have provided strong and definitive adivce that the ‘double deck down’ solution is not viable…On the basis of this advice I wanted to let you know that the Department intends to do no further work on the ‘double deck down’ solution.”

Reading the attached letter of advice from Network Rail, the reasons why they don’t want to operate a two level double deck station boil down to “a double deck station is on two levels”.

As local campaigner Peter Jones, part of the Pan-Camden HS2 Alliance who developed the plans, points out

“The report Mr McLoughlin is relying on is complete nonsense in engineering terms. It’s like answering an exam questiong by saying ‘my answer might be different if I could be bothered to study a bit more’.”

What’s more concerning, and backs local concerns about local ‘land grabs’ from the developers is one reason given for opposing their suggestions:

Network Rail write

“Opportunities for over site development are constrained – access to any development would be well above street level, thus limiting the potential for regeneration benefits in the Euston area”

The HS2 Hybrid Bill allows the government to take over any land where the Secretary of State for Transport thinks HS2 has “the opportunity for regeneration or development of any land, the Secretary of State may acquire the land compulsorily.”

With Network Rail’s insistence that extra land is needed just for the construction of the a new Euston station, it seems clear that they are eyeing up existing land in the area, which is currently being used by other homes and businesses.

Peter Jones added

“We will still appeal to the Secretary of State on our design and want an independent group to look at the prospect of building a station in the existing

Euston station is currently undergoing development which Network Rail says will result in “a bigger, better station with more shops and a wider choice of food and drink”. Their figures show that, while 40 million rail passengers a year use Euston station, 30 million more “use the station to shop, eat and drink as well as accessing London Underground services”.

Previous plans for rebuilding Euston as part of the HS2 plans were dropped when HS2 Ltd realised it would cost £500 million than they had budgeted for. This was changed, with David Higgins’ report earlier this year arguing that Euston should be rebuilt. It is likely when there are proper plans for this, the cost of HS2 will go up again.

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