Meeting with GLA planners re HS2: Andrew Dismore AM  with  officers: Fiona Fletcher -Smith and Martin Cowie



They did not appear at the H of L select committee, as they had ‘assurances’ from HS2. I said they were all very vague, which they accepted. The Government were being very unforthcoming as they were focussed on getting Royal Assent for the Bill and would not do or say anything that could risk it. They would check if there was a reply from Grayling to Sadiq’s letter: this could be in the Mayor’s office if it existed and not with the planners. I said I was tabling a Mayor’s question about it.


They said they wanted to try to be more transparent about what they were doing, having seen how HS2 had failed on public engagement. They thought a lot of the detail from HS2 did not exist, pending Royal Assent.


Detailed questions and points I raised:


  1. The Comprehensive Redevelopment of Euston


  • On 6 September, Tim Mould informed the SC that the DfT has written to Camden officers about funding for a feasibility study for Phase B2. Can I have the correspondence?


Martin Cowie (leading on HS2 for City Hall) will share the letters (if they have them) with us. Some money has been secured to start work on the feasibility study already and they are trying to get Government to commit to further funding.


  • Where are TfL on integrating Crossrail 2 into the existing station?


Work is still being done on a properly integrated design, which looks promising, but not near to completion yet. This involves using the platform 1 site which TfL, Network Rail and HS2 are happy with. There is a current concern in relation to the platform location  for the  Scottish Sleeper train, but the GLA is optimistic that an acceptable design can come out.



  • The current nonsense proposal is for HS2 passengers to walk to St Pancras through Somers Town.


They are working on the access to St Pancras from Euston, but the current plan is still currently for a clearer and more attractive surface walking route through Somers Town, form the northern end of the station east side. They are struggling to design an acceptable and more direct solution through the existing mainline station as e.g. an over station bridge would not work for safety/operational reasons  but they want to come up with a long term plan when some of the other design issues have been finalised.


  • One of HEAG’s “asks” is that construction works should not commence on the proposed HS2 station at Euston until the HS2 Ltd has obtained the necessary powers and funding for the comprehensive development of the station at Euston. A prerequisite to this is a comprehensive environmental statement and an acceptable timetable for the completion of the project. Where are City Hall on this?

GLA don’t support construction until powers and funding are in place for B2. They are pushing for far more co-ordination, but HS2 are gearing up for the enabling works which have started with the Temperance Hospital site. The Deputy Mayors (3 involved- Jules Pipe, planning, James Murray, housing, Val Shawcross, transport) strongly feel HS2 needs to work more on mitigation before any construction work is done. The GLA advocates a comprehensive approach, as the timetable for the B2 design and feasibility study in mid-2018, and there is a lot of work in 2017 to make sure all preparatory work is done and they want preferred options before that.


  • Any news about the over-site development?


A new HS2 director for this has been appointed (name not yet public) who is due to start in January. GLA may put money into the design process.



  1. Old Alternative Options for Euston


In August, Roger Hargreaves raised the possibility of a working party set up under the umbrella of the ECRG on EMRs (Environmental Minimum Requirements). He has stressed that the powers sought through the Hybrid Bill are those that HS2 Ltd may need based on the basis of the worst scenario. HS2 are now moving into the detailed design stage which will evolve over the next 6 – 12 months. Roger has suggested that HS2 may no longer need to demolish one or more of the following bridges: (i) Hampstead Road; (ii) Granby and (iii) Mornington Street.


On 17 October, Chris Grayling gave the following evidence to the Transport Select Committee: “There are some local route issues still being addressed to try and make sure we minimise the impact on the surrounding area and I hope to be able to bring forward detail of that in the not too distant future.” And when asked about the timeline for this: “This Autumn, I mean clearly we’re going to have finished that by the time the hybrid bill comes out the other end and we start construction. So yes we’re trying to get that wrapped up soon.”


Any  more on this?


GLA have heard that there may not be a need to demolish all the road bridges, and is  pressing to be engaged on the study, which remains ongoing. The priority is to reduce the disruption, but not demolishing the bridges would limit the housing development opportunities.


  1. Old Oak Common


There is a strong case for OOC being used as the temporary terminus. Plans at OOC should not progress too far to preclude this option.


The GLA review high level review on the OOC development was published today. The Mayor agrees that this must remain a temporary option, and the Government are willing to consider it, however different departments have different attitudes. The Department of Transport is not in favour, but the feeling they have from Government is ‘maybe’


  1. Hampstead Road Bridge


HS2 argue for Option 8, the cheapest one and the one that would do the least to mitigate the impact on local residents. Option 1 would entail the demolition of Cartmel. However, Cartmel residents already face the double whammy of (i) 10 years of construction works; and (ii) living next to the heightened Hampstead Road Bridge. Some would prefer to be rehoused on the Regents Park Estate. It seems that it is already accepted that the ground floor flats will be rendered uninhabitable. This option would reduce the construction period by 12 to 18 months and would significantly deflect the adverse impact away from the Ampthill Square Estate.


The GLA has strongly suggested and support option 1, but have left it to Camden and HS2 to work this through.



  1. Rail, not Road, for transporting spoil and construction materials


The “Material by Rail” report was published in July. It is extremely disappointing. The current proposal was to move a mere 14.8% of spoil and construction material by rail. There is a strong dissenting view from Camden and TfL. Some give seems to have been given to the SC. Where are we on this?


GLA very strongly agree this is unacceptable, and have suggested that at least 50% of all material is removed by rail. They are also pressing to see if more can be taken in and out by canal, which is not an option preferred by HS2. There will be more detail soon. TfL are doing analysis to look at how much they could remove and bring in by rail, which they will put to HS2.


  1. Air Quality


  1. Lorry Holding Area


There is concern about the zoo car park being used as the lorry holding area. An alternative suggestion is the Maria Fidelis site when the school is demolished. However, this also has drawbacks.


GLA have made it clear that HS2 need to fully justify the need for and locations of lorry holding facilities. I raised the impact of the zoo car park on Cycle Superhighway 11 as well which they agree. Negotiations are ongoing.