HS2 'U-turn' leads to uncertainty in Euston

Tom Edwards
Transport correspondent, London
@BBCTomEdwardson Twitter

Image source, PA
Image caption, HS2 will link London with Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds

The redevelopment of Euston station is meant to be the jewel in the high speed train line HS2's crown.

But the plans have changed so many times, it's becoming very difficult to keep up.

Now, it seems the plan is to go back to elements from the original scheme which involves platforms for the high speed lines being placed to the west of the station.

This has also been called a "lean to" and an "eyesore" by local campaigners.

The existing station would, it seems, be developed but it would be done in stages and take much longer than originally envisaged.

'Triple U-turn'

The local newspaper the Camden New Journal calls the move an "astonishing triple U-turn".

The local Labour council does not want HS2, but if it goes ahead it wants a big redevelopment at Euston.

Councillor Sarah Hayward, leader of Camden Council, said: "Government ministers promised that the community would be consulted on options for a comprehensive redevelopment of the station.

"Instead we've been presented with a fait accompli that extends the end date of the building works from 2026 to nearly 2040 and does nothing to deal with the current substandard station.

"Sadly, although I'm shocked, I'm not surprised and we'll need to work out the next steps. If this scheme goes ahead, Camden will be blighted for decades and there'll be no extra jobs or homes at Euston station."

Last week HS2 told the Camden New Journal: "All the parties involved are currently looking at the best approach to deliver a redeveloped Euston station that positively transforms the area while minimising the impact on residents and passengers.

"The phased delivery option will reduce construction impact, minimise disruption to existing passengers, deliver HS2 on time, on budget and help provide long-term benefits and opportunities for the community.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption, The first phase of HS2 will be between London and Birmingham opening in 2026, followed by a V-shaped section to Manchester and Yorkshire

"Much like the redevelopment of the King's Cross St Pancras area with its new jobs, opportunities, housing and community assets, this is a long-term project that will keep developing during the coming months and years."

Hundreds of homes will be demolished in Camden to make way for HS2. The borough will lose more homes than any other area in the country.

Businesses like those on Drummond Street will also be affected.

At the moment they are all having to live with uncertainty and are trying to grapple with the details of another plan for Euston station.

The concern for the Department for Transport, HS2 Ltd and the political parties which support HS2 is that these changes undermine the scheme's credibility.

How many more times can HS2 launch a plan for Euston station? And remember this is the flagship station for the high speed line.

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