HS2: Government’s Euston plans “let down Londoners”, say Camden Council

Camden Council have warned that HS2 Ltd.’s plans for Euston Station will bring more than a decade of blight without any benefit to London unless there is a commitment to the redevelopment of the entire Euston station and a joined up approach to the delivery of station proposals.

The Council feels serious questions have been left unanswered on how major transport projects, such as Crossrail 2, will integrate with the station and worries Camden will lose out as the full opportunity for local jobs and affordable homes on the site will not be realised as there is no commitment to comprehensive development of the station.

Government changes to the London terminus for High Speed 2 (HS2) announced today (Tuesday, 8 September) to the HS2 Bill show the new HS2 tracks being built in two phases, with no timescale, funding or design specified for the redevelopment of the existing Euston Station.

The Euston Area Plan, adopted by Camden Council and the Greater London Authority, shows how up to 3,800 homes, up to 14,100 new jobs and new open space could be achieved through comprehensive development at Euston with the HS2 tracks and existing tracks all on one level.

By not guaranteeing comprehensive development, the Government’s plan risks creating a disjointed station with tracks on different levels that divides communities and fails to enhance the Euston area. The current plans could limit development opportunities, prevent easy access through the station in all directions to the surrounding area and potentially throw away up to 6,000 jobs, 1,000 homes and £400m of economic value.

Failure to include the existing Euston Station in a comprehensive development could block the integration of Crossrail 2, which could mean further disruption to an area already facing years of HS2 construction.

Leader of Camden Council, Councillor Sarah Hayward, said: “HS2 will cause decades of blight in the Euston area – to property prices, to our small business’ trade and to our residents’ lives, which is why we remain ardently opposed to the scheme.

“If HS2 goes ahead with these plans, Camden suffers all of the pain with none of the benefits. London has a housing crisis and people’s jobs are insecure. Comprehensive development at Euston with tracks on one level can help remedy this and provide a world-class transport hub, yet the short-sightedness of these plans is threatening to let down Londoners on all these fronts.

“The success of the new King’s Cross was built on close collaboration between key partners and viewing the area’s needs as a whole. Euston is a different case, but we need bodies like HS2 Ltd., Network Rail and Transport for London to work together with us, residents and businesses to ensure the new Euston works for everyone. Crucially, we need Euston to be part of the Government’s budget plans.”

The drive for a comprehensive redevelopment of Euston Station is also backed by business representative group Camden Town Unlimited.

Simon Pitkeathley, Chief Executive of Camden Town Unlimited, said: “The redevelopment of Euston is a once in a generation opportunity for business and jobs growth in Camden. In nearby King’s Cross, new station entrances and the redirection of passenger flows regenerated the neighbourhood and saw businesses move in.

“Euston could do the same, but only if passengers can cross seamlessly from one end of the station to the other and easily access the surrounding area. The AP3 design falls short of this vision as the existing tracks will remain at their current level whereas the HS2 tracks will be lowered. This will limit station permeability, and as a result, businesses to the east of the station site will miss out on the opportunities presented by the tens of thousands of potential customers who will pass through Euston daily once HS2 is running.”

The Euston Strategic Board is working on a Growth Strategy and Planning Brief to identify how to unlock funding to make the comprehensive redevelopment of Euston a reality. The Euston Strategic Board is co-chaired by Camden with Greater London Authority (including the Office of the Mayor) and also includes Department for Transport, Transport for London, Network Rail and HS2 Ltd.

More information

Camden Council opposes plans for HS2 as currently proposed. If the government does go ahead with the scheme, Camden is committed to securing the best deal for our communities. Find out more here.