HS2: MPs call for clarity for communities and councils on HS2 timetable and support for growth and regeneration
The influential Public Accounts Committee of the House of Commons has today supported our calls for the government to provide clarity to communities like Camden who will be most impacted by their plans for High Speed 2 (HS2).
The Committee concludes that the government’s timetable for the scheme is overly ambitious, with only a 60% chance that the planned completion date for Phase 1 of 2026 will be met. This uncertainty also applies to much of the details of Phase 2 from Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester. The Committee concludes that if a delay is to occur, the government must make that clear to communities affected along the route without delay.
Leader of the Council, Councillor Sarah Hayward, said:
“This is a damning report highlighting the disarray at HS2 Ltd which the government must take action to address.
“In the week that HS2’s Chief Executive has quit, we now have further evidence that the timetable of delivery is slipping, and uncertainty remains over the ability of the HS2 project to deliver growth and regeneration. Communities in Camden are set to face years of disruption from HS2 and the government’s disjointed approach to re-developing the station means we could lose out on the potential for affordable homes and jobs around the station.
"We already know that HS2 Ltd are re-thinking how the scheme will be designed on the approach to Euston station. Now is the opportunity to rethink the plans for the station itself and commit to funding to ensure the integration of plans for HS2, Crossrail 2 and the redevelopment of the existing mainline station at Euston.”
Last week, the Council appeared before the House of Lords Select Committee considering the HS2 Bill to seek a government guarantee that the funding and design timetables for the various projects at Euston will be aligned to not preclude the benefits which have been identified from a fully integrated station.
The Council shares the Public Accounts Committee’s concern that the government has yet to provide sufficient clarity on how local authorities will be supported to deliver the full regeneration and growth potential at HS2 stations. In its evidence to the Public Accounts Committee, the Council said that if the government insists on continuing with the scheme it is vital that funding is found for local authorities in order to deliver the wider regeneration and local growth potential from the scheme. This includes funding to facilitate the integration of HS2, Crossrail 2 and the redevelopment of the existing mainline station at Euston, in order to realise the full potential for jobs, homes and growth in and around a world class station hub.
In the Council’s evidence to the Committee’s inquiry, we said that if HS2 is to miss its planned 2026 opening target for Phase 1, it is vital that this extra time is used to get the plans for Euston station right and not to extend the construction period and impact on residents and businesses.