The long running saga over the redevelopment of Euston Station has been rekindled after a Greater London Authority (GLA) boss admitted that a lack of funding and an unclear plan for the surrounding area could lead to a disjointed station.
London Euston is the sixth busiest railway station in Britain handling 71M people per year. It currently acts as the southern terminus of the West Coast Mainline and is to undergo a £1.65bn redevelopment which is solely to build the southern terminus of the new High Speed 2 (HS2) line.
With the arrival of the HS2, there is a vision from many parties, including project promoter HS2 Ltd and the local Camden Council, to use the opportunity to completely modernise and improve the whole station. However, as HS2 progresses with appointing contractors for its side of the redevelopment, concerns are increasing over lack of funding and strategy for the rest of the site. Network Rail has removed funding for major enhancement projects, which would include the redevelopment of existing Euston Station, from the new control period 6 (CP6 running from 2019 to 2024) budget.
Concerns were first raised in 2015 by Camden Council when it said the scheme lacked funding, timescale and design detail. The fears were then repeated in May this year when Camden Council councillor Danny Beales said it still had “serious concerns” about the redevelopment.
Now GLA deputy mayor planning, regeneration and skills Jules Pipe has waded in saying the redevelopment of the Network Rail side of the station was still unfunded and lacked a proper plan. He also stressed that the arrival of HS2 and then Crossrail 2 has to be incorporated into a wider plan for the station.
Speaking at the London Infrastructure Summit, Pipe went on to say that the plan still lacked a clear strategy for the bus station and connectivity for passengers through the whole station. He also highlighted the lack of a fixed location for the entrance to Crossrail 2.
“The debate is still open as to whether the entrance to Crossrail 2 would actually be within a redeveloped conventional station or whether it would be the other side of the road,” he said. “Can you imagine coming off HS2 and having to traverse the station […] and then have to cross the road to get into Crossrail 2.
“We’ve got to nail all this stuff down to make sure we make a real success of placemaking at Euston.”
In response HS2 chief executive Mark Thurston said it was the company intented to ”create one, integrated terminus at Euston”, adding that there was funding for the “early stages” of planning for the Network Rail station.
“There is funding for the early stages of the Network Rail station as there is a recognition that you couldn’t go and build HS2 at Euston and do nothing with the existing station,” said Thurston. “The whole plan only works if you see it in totality.
“However, let’s be clear, this will need to be done in phases and that’s an issue for us working with Network rail and Camden working out how we keep the existing station as a working operating station while we build the new.”
In February this year Network Rail ex chief executive Mark Carne confirmed there were, at that time, no new major projects on the books for CP6.
New enhancement projects will have to apply for funding separately, either competing against other national infrastructure projects or seeking other sources of finance.
The HS2 station at Euston is due to open in 2026 with the opening of phase 1 of the line from London to Birmingham.
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