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Camden slams HS2 for lack of vision over Euston

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Camden Council has criticised HS2 for failing to commit to plans which would allow 1,900 new homes to be built above a redeveloped Euston station

The north London borough has slammed the body responsible for building the £50billion high speed line for failing to rule out a ‘split-deck’ - an option whereby new tracks are built on a different level to the existing station - which would make it impossible to build any housing above the new terminus.

In a statement following a meeting between HS2 and the Euston Community Representatives Group earlier this month Camden Council said that HS2 would ‘throw away’ any potential benefits of revamping the station if it did not build the new terminus on one level.

Councillor Phil Jones, cabinet member for regeneration, transport and planning at Camden Council, said: ‘If HS2 does go ahead, it must deliver the vision for Euston set out in the Euston Area Plan, providing a place that delivers much needed local jobs, affordable homes and open space. This will only be possible through comprehensive redevelopment that lowers the classic tracks, enabling permeability and creating a place that fits the local area.

Jones added: ‘Euston is a crucial transport hub of national significance but HS2’s current plans give no guarantees on timescales or funding for a full development of the station in the future.

‘The current station is already totally inadequate and would need significant alteration and investment even if HS2 wasn’t being planned.

‘We urgently need a guarantee of how and when the Government will fund the changes to the entire station including the classic side and we are keen to have discussions with Ministers on this matter.’

The latest plan by HS2 envisages adding six platforms to the western side of the existing Euston station and is estimated to cost between £2billion - £2.6billion but falls short of a complete redevelopment of the rail terminus.

A previous proposal to overhaul the entire station had been mooted by Chancellor George Osborne but was dumped after proving to be too costly. According to Camden, any ‘split deck’ design – with tracks on different levels - could throw away the potential benefit of housing above the station by making it harder to deliver the over-station development.

Local resident and member of the Euston Community Representatives Group Fran Heron said: ‘It [Euston] is going to be a dog’s dinner and an expensive one at that. The station is restricted by the protected views of the city from Primrose Hill, and Euston itself is going to be a construction site for decades to come. Even when it is finished we may not get a station which anyone really wants.’

The council believes that the cost of a more ambitious redevelopment of the 1960s station could be funded in-part by new homes above the concourse.

A spokesperson for HS2 said: ‘The planned phased approach for Euston keeps the options open for either a level or “split-deck” station – which will ultimately be a Network Rail and DfT/Treasury decision.’

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Lack of vision could better apply to the whole misconceived project.

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  • Whatever happens at Euston the decision makers should remember the mistakes of the past when light-filled airy concourses at large mainline termini were replaced by worm-burrows - Birmingham New Street Station here, Lyon Gare de la Part-Dieu and New York Penn Station.

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