The Liberal Democrats have slammed the Conservatives today over concerns regarding recently announced changes to plans for HS2 in London, including alterations to Euston Station and the surrounding area.
During Mayor’s Questions, Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member & Economy Spokesperson Hina Bokhari raised issues from local businesses in Camden who have been impacted by the paused construction works at Euston.
Over 70 businesses around Euston were forced to move due to construction work and hundreds more have been affected indirectly with reduced footfall. According to Assembly Member Bokhari, both residents and businesses in Camden could now face decades of disruption as a result of the Conservatives decision to scale down Euston developments and concern over the private sectors ability to deliver revised plans.
Following on from Assembly Member Bokhari, Liberal Democrat Assembly Member and Transport Spokesperson Caroline Pidgeon raised concerns that the scaling down of HS2, including around Euston would result in an increase in pressure on TfL services, including the Elizabeth Line.
Among the projects to be axed by the Conservatives include the development of Euston Underground and the construction of a pedestrian tunnel from Euston Square Tube Station to Euston. Concerns have also been raised that should HS2 never reach Euston, instead terminating at Old Oak Common in West London, significant pressure would be added to the Elizabeth Line as passengers attempt to reach central London.
In response to the concerns raised the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan agreed that the prolonged disruption faced by local businesses wasn’t acceptable and highlighted the disproportionate impact of the disruption on black and ethnic minority communities in the area.
The Mayor also stated that he wasn’t getting the answers needed from the UK Government regarding changes made to the plans and that it was causing uncertainty for businesses in London and for those wishing to be involved in redevelopment plans. He also stated that a failure to finish the line at Euston would result in a 70% increase in passengers on the Elizabeth Line at Old Oak Common.
Hina Bokhari AM said, “Businesses and residents across Camden have already faced years of disruption due to the construction of HS2, now the Conservatives have thrown yet another spanner in the works which could lead to decades of disruption.
“It is not fair local businesses have been left to suffer in this way and the UK Conservative Government must do more to assist those impacted by their mismanagement of this project.
“It is also beyond belief that instead of addressing these issues head on, the Government has instead announced vague plans with redevelopment targets many experts believe are unachievable.
“I will continue to push for more help for residents and businesses impacted by disruption and fight to ensure their voices are directly heard in the Government’s new plans.”
Adding her comments Caroline Pidgeon AM said, “The Conservative mismanagement of HS2 is a textbook example of how not to do big infrastructure. It is unbelievable that this project could now add pressure on London’s commuter services instead of reducing it because of the uncertainty surrounding Euston.
“It is clear that if HS2 does not terminate in Euston it will have serious impacts on transport infrastructure in London and the UK as a whole. The Conservatives must get to grips with this problem and put the project back on track with minimal delays.”