‘HS2 will cause a decade of disruption in Camden, with no benefit,’ says council leader

Anti-HS2 campaigners from Camden join hundreds in protest outside parliament on Monday. Picture: Pol

Anti-HS2 campaigners from Camden join hundreds in protest outside parliament on Monday. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

The government’s latest HS2 plans for Euston Station have “let down” Londoners and will create a decade of disruption with little concrete benefit, according to town hall chiefs.

Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima

Government changes to the London terminus for HS2 announced on Tuesday reveal the new tracks will be built in two phases, with no timescale, funding or design specified for the redevelopment of Euston Station.

These new proposals ignore the recommendations of the Euston Area Plan, adopted by Camden Council and the Greater London Authority, which shows how up to 3,800 homes and over 14,000 jobs could be created though comprehensive development of the station.

The council fears that the government plans will create a disjointed station because they propose the HS2 tracks are built at a different level to the existing track.

Council leader Sarah Hayward said: “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 these fronts.”

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Cllr Hayward called on the key agencies involved including HS2 Ltd, Network Rail and Transport for London to work together with the council, residents and businesses to ensure that the potential of the new Euston can be realised.

The drive for complete redevelopment of Euston Station is backed by Camden Town Unlimited, which represents 300 local businesses.

The company’s chief executive, Simon Pitkeathley said that as a result of the new proposals, businesses to the east of the station would miss out because the plans limit the accessibility of the station.

He said: “The problem with Euston is that it lacks its own identity as an area. If you think of Camden Town, Primrose Hill or King’s Cross, people have an idea of what these areas are about, but that’s not the case for Euston.

“I see this redevelopment as a once-in-a-lifetime chance to redefine the area, but it requires full-on commitment.

“I am not wholly opposed to HS2, as I accept that it is going to go ahead.

“But my opinion is that if you’re going to do a job, you need to do it right. These latest plans fall a long way short of that, unfortunately.”

Rupert Walker, Euston Development Director for HS2 Ltd and Network Rail, said: “Euston needs to become a station that both the nation and local community can be proud of – and share.

“It will be the best connected station in London; a crossroads between the north and the south, quickly and easily accessible from all parts of the capital and, with HS2, the country.

“This will take time and inevitably cause disruption to both the community and commuters as we work to bring about change but at each stage we will do our best to explain what we are doing, and why, as well as listening to ideas about what the new Euston should look and feel like.”

The government’s plans will be submitted to Parliament next week for consideration.