HS2 Ltd confirms it will no longer seek expressions of interest to redevelop station in January
HS2 has put back plans to select a developer to transform Euston Station into the high speed rail project’s London terminus, the client has confirmed following the emergence of problems with the scheme.
HS2 Ltd told Building this week it no longer intends to seek expressions of interest to redevelop Euston station (pictured) in January, as originally expected.
A spokesperson for HS2 Ltd said the organisation was “unlikely” to issue a prior information notice (PIN) in January kicking off the bidding process for the scheme.
The spokesperson said: “We expect to issue a PIN notice at the appropriate time next year but that is unlikely to be January.”
According to documents reported on by the Sunday Telegraph, seen by Building, Network Rail had been briefing stakeholders as late as last month that expressions of interest for the Euston scheme would be sought in January.
Network Rail senior programme manager Donald Homer told a meeting between HS2 Ltd, Network Rail and local stakeholders, held in October, that he “hoped” expressions of interest for the scheme would be sought in January.
At the same meeting HS2 Ltd director Rupert Walker told fellow members of the board that designers had stopped working on the project because existing plans were not financially viable.
Walker, who is head of high speed rail development at HS2 Ltd, said “more development was required” to make the business case stand up.
One option to make the redevelopment of Euston financially viable is to build hundreds of flats on a deck above planned high speed rail platforms.
Homer said building on a deck was “very expensive and challenging”. HS2 Ltd’s Walker said the expense could be mitigated by reorienting the deck over the existing open space in front of the station.
Homer also said a planning requirement that 20% of the homes provided on the site should be affordable also threatened the viability of the project.
But Sarah Hayward, leader of Camden council, said the local planning authority expected the scheme to be compliant with its planning policies, including those on affordable housing and limiting tallbuildings.
Her colleague, planning chair Phil Jones added his “serious concern” over the level of affordable housing being proposed on the site.
A spokesperson for HS2 said that since the meeting “work has continued on the design process and that work is ongoing” and that the project remained committed to Euston as the London terminus for the UK’s first domestic high speed rail line.