HS2 Business Form #1: Summary!

9th March 2017

The first in a series of business engagement workshops to discuss HS2, design issues and how to ensure that the transportation project benefits all stakeholders.

Simon Pitkeathley opened the event explaining the intention to start a dialogue between local businesses and HS2 Ltd on the opportunities for business presented by Euston’s redevelopment. He emphasised the overarching desire for a holistic approach to be taken at Euston in order to achieve a comprehensive redevelopment.

HS2 Ltd’s approach to Euston’s redevelopment and masterplanning the wider area

Stuart Westgate explained that post Royal Assent, HS2 wishes to establish a more collaborative and constructive relationship with local businesses, accommodating concerns.  (Royal Assent was granted for HS2 the following day.)

HS2 Ltd has a responsibility on behalf of the Secretary of State to plan Euston’s development and its future not only as a transport hub, but also as a place. Stuart referred to this as the ‘wider campus area’, and cited King’s Cross St Pancras as a good example of effective place-making through master-planning.

Stuart explained that HS2 Ltd is currently collaborating with London Borough of Camden, Network Rail, TfL, GLA and DCLG on producing a masterplan that will consider the integration of the four stations at Euston (HS2, ‘classic’, London Underground and Crossrail2). The masterplan will also consider many other issues, such as open space, and how access routes can be configured. This will help ensure that the vision for the four stations is in line with that of Camden Council.

Stuart acknowledged that some in the Euston area have proposed that trains should terminate at Old Oak Common until a more comprehensive solution can be agreed for Euston. The masterplan work is designed to respond to that criticism.

Suzanne Crouch then explained HS2’s desire to be a ‘good neighbour’. She said that HS2 is trying to think about what the station ‘could be for you’ and wants to ensure that this is managed in a responsible way.

Suzanne explained that HS2 is keen to obtain local knowledge about what works for the area. To date, however, HS2’s relationship with the community has been difficult at times, and this is something HS2 is keen to change. She is therefore keen that there should be further meetings arranged by the BIDs, noting that now is a critical time to be having discussions with businesses.

She emphasised that it is critical for businesses and HS2 to engage sooner rather than later, as the design will be developed within the next couple of years, in order to deliver the first phase of construction in 2026, with the full station delivered by 2033.  HS2 Ltd has appointed designer WSP and Wilkinson Eyre architects to develop the station concept design (RIBA stage 2) and masterplan. An external engagement opportunity on station design will follow in the summer.

Suzanne noted that the possibilities for the station design itself are limited by the amount of space that has been allotted for the HS2 station. There is more room to explore in the oversite development aspect of the station design.

Kerry Bangle added that HS2 is keen to optimise the interface with the Network Rail station to reduce the cumulative impact and avoid a duplication of efforts.

Suzanne reassured attendees that once Royal Assent occurs, there will not be a need to take all of the land that is required to build the scheme at once. HS2 will wait as long as it can before acquiring property and land to avoid there being prolonged vacant lots. Independent land assessors will need to approve plot acquisition, piece by piece.

Stuart added that HS2 is held to contracts and has clear commitments to uphold on air quality. This includes monitoring air quality in a public way to ensure that pollution stays within an accepted minimum.

Questions from the floor

The next forum

It was agreed that there should be another business forum in a couple of months’ time when HS2 Ltd are in place to plan their next level of activity. The subject of the next business forum will be announced in due course.