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It would be an utter disgrace if the HS2 Euston terminus goes ahead

04 January, 2018

• THE news that all the members of the Commons select committee on HS2 are to receive knighthoods will not be welcomed in Camden.

It is true that these MPs had to accept a heavy extra burden by serving on this committee and they seem to have done a good job elsewhere in the country. But, possibly because by the time they reached Camden they were tired, they did not do a good job here.

The committee agreed to hear the arguments for Old Oak Common (OOC) becoming the terminus rather than Euston, which they were not obliged to do, but then dismissed them on grounds that are simply incorrect.

They said that to reach central London by changing from an HS2 terminus at OOC would place undesirably high dependence on a single Underground service: Crossrail.

But if the plans most favoured for the development of OOC go ahead, there will be several other easy Overground and Underground routes linking OOC with central London.

They said that the evidence was that overall journey times from OOC via Crossrail would for most destinations be longer than onward travel from Euston, although Canary Wharf would be an exception.

This is simply not true. It would take less time to reach all the stations on Crossrail by changing at OOC than by continuing on to Euston.

These stations include the whole of the Oxford Street shopping area and all the important financial centres, not just Canary Wharf. Other important destinations more quickly reached by changing at a Crossrail station rather than at Euston include Covent Garden, High Street Kensington, South Kensington and Westminster.

When the prestigious House of Lords economic affairs committee looked at HS2 they said that the government should calculate the effect on HS2’s cost benefit analysis of changing the terminus from Euston to OOC.

In an act of discourtesy to a parliamentary committee, that as far as I know is unprecedented, the government simply ignored this recommendation.

The Lords should now insist on the government’s taking it up. So should Camden Council, whose endorsement of Euston as the HS2 terminus is a gross betrayal of its residents’ interests.

Lord Adonis of Camden Town is on record as regretting the choice of Euston. Perhaps until now he felt diffident, as the holder of an important governmental post, to press his point of view. He need feel no such reluctance now.

It would be an utter disgrace, and would further weaken public confidence in our governmental institutions and procedures, if the decision to make Euston terminus continues to go unchallenged.

Albert Street, NW1


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