Designing Euston as a single integrated Station

High-Speed Rail (London-West Midlands) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:15 am on 8th March 2016.

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(1) The new high speed platforms to the west of the existing Euston Station must be designed as part of a plan for a single fully integrated Euston station which provides platforms for HS2, mainline and Crossrail 2 services.

(2) Full integration means, but is not limited to—

(a) east-west and north-south permeability, with at grade accessible routes across and around the station for pedestrians and cyclists accessing the local areas,

(b) integration into the existing local transport network, and

(c) the potential for over-site development across the whole Euston station site and tracks.

(3) In developing the design for Euston Station, the Nominated Undertaker must consult with—

(a) the local community and local businesses,

(b) the London Borough of Camden,

(c) passenger groups,

(d) the rail industry,

(e) Transport for London and the Greater London Assembly, and

(f) any other party which the Nominated Undertaker deems appropriate.—

This new clause requires the design for Euston Station to be approached in a holistic fashion, ensuring that plans for the HS2 platforms do not limit future integration with and redevelopment of the existing mainline station at Euston, nor with plans for a Crossrail 2 station in the area, or the potential for over-site development. It would require the Nominated Undertaker to consult widely on the design of Euston Station.

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Andy McDonald Andy McDonald Shadow Minister (Transport)

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

New clause 24—Euston Station design: having regard to plan, guidance and undertakings etc.—

(1) The Nominated Undertaker must design HS2 Euston Station having regard to the Euston Area Plan and any other relevant Opportunity Area Frameworks and Guidance, and any other commitments or undertakings given by the Secretary of State to the London Borough of Camden, the Greater London Authority or Transport for London.

This amendment would ensure that designs for Euston Station are in keeping with assurances received by interested parties from HS2 Ltd, secured via the petitioning process. The design must be in keeping with relevant plans and guidance already published.

New clause 25—Integrated development of Euston Station—

(1) The Nominated Undertaker must design HS2 Euston Station in such a way that its design—

(a) facilitates the acceleration of the redevelopment of Euston Mainline Station,

(b) does not preclude future integration with a rebuilt Euston Mainline Station,

(c) does not preclude future integration with the Crossrail 2 proposals at Euston, and

(d) maximises the opportunity for mixed use over-site development, especially the maximisation of new affordable housing and the creation of open space.

This amendment would ensure that any development at Euston Station does not preclude the future redevelopment of and integration with the existing mainline station, nor integration with a future Crossrail 2 station at Euston, or maximising the potential for over-site development at Euston.

Photo of Andy McDonald Andy McDonald Shadow Minister (Transport)

This group of new clauses deals specifically with Euston. Many of us have had the opportunity not only to visit Euston but to look at innumerable plans and photographs showing just how significant the development will be for the people of Camden. The thrust of the new clauses is to try to deal with some of the many and varied concerns that people have about the opportunities presented by the integration of the station building with HS2 and other elements.

New clause 23 would require an holistic design approach to ensure that HS2 platforms would not limit future integration with, and redevelopment of, the existing main line, plans for a Crossrail 2 station, or potential over site development. The nominated undertaker would be obliged to consult widely on design. New clause 24 would simply ensure that the station designs were in keeping with assurances received from HS2 Ltd by interested parties, secured via the petitioning process. It would accordingly require the design to be in keeping with already published plans and guidance.

New clause 25 demands that any development at Euston station must not preclude any future developments or integration. Euston is a nationally significant economic opportunity, and an immense one for regeneration. HS2 can, without doubt, be the catalyst for delivering a new central London district, providing thousands of new homes and jobs. A fully integrated station could generate a development value of about £3 billion in itself, plus an additional £1.1 billion in gross value added per annum, and return approximately £1.3 billion to the Exchequer up to 2060. Euston therefore has the potential to become an international development exemplar. It can deliver high-quality, comprehensive and transformational development that integrates with the community and delivers considerable benefits to that community. That shared objective is sought by many of our amendments.

Camden Council, in close consultation with the Greater London Authority, Transport for London and Network Rail, settled on a “Growth Strategy for Euston: HS2 Gateway to Central London”. The document sets out the shared ambitions for HS2 and the new Euston to

“deliver regeneration across the wider Euston area providing major benefits at both a local and national scale.”

The strategy states:

“To unlock the major growth and regeneration potential at Euston commitment and funding is required— obviously—

“This Growth Strategy sets out the case for this significant opportunity and how it can be achieved…All the partners embrace the ambition for Euston and are committed to realising this once in a century opportunity.”

It adds, happily:

“The strategy is endorsed by the Camden Business Board.”

The strategy document notes, however, that funding has been committed only for the railway infrastructure and the station associated with HS2, and for little else. No funding or commitments are in place for the Network Rail part of the station. As a result, the people of Camden are looking forward—or dreading—many years of disruption, which could be considerably shortened if the ambitions for the mainline station and the preparations for Crossrail 2 were factored in at this stage.

Despite the assurances given by HS2 as recently as 23 February 2016, in a letter from Roger Hargreaves, the director of hybrid Bill delivery at HS2, to Mike Cooke, the chief executive of Camden, the separation of the HS2 scheme from the redevelopment proposals for the existing station continues to pose a number of significant risks to future planning for the area and its ability to realise growth and regeneration. To build in delay and years of disruption is unfair on the community that has to suffer the disruption and inhibits the full capitalisation of the potential regenerative impact.

Only a little more than two years ago, in the Evening Standard, the Chancellor signalled plans for a full-scale rebuilding of Euston station to create a brand-new shopping centre, offices and apartments. He gave that interview on returning from a trip to Hong Kong and said unequivocally that the 46-year-old station should be replaced completely for the arrival of High Speed 2:

“I’m thinking that maybe we should go for a really big re-development of Euston…There is a really big opportunity for jobs and for housing in the area. Let’s face it—Euston is not one of the prettiest of the London stations. It was last redeveloped in the middle part of the last century.”

I would like to test the Minister on the extent to which those bold ambitions hold true.

Camden Council leader Sarah Hayward derided the plan to simply extend the station to incorporate HS2 as

“a shed being bolted onto an existing lean to”.

Indeed, the London Mayor said it is

“a missed opportunity for regeneration and jobs.”

Clearly the Chancellor had something considerably different in mind from the somewhat piecemeal development before us.

The number of platforms at Euston will increase initially from the current 18 to 19—13 conventional and six high-speed platforms—for the purpose of HS2 phase 1. Although phase 2 is outwith the scope of the Bill, we are talking about developing Euston not simply for phase 1 but in anticipation of phase 2 and Crossrail 2. Euston will have 24 platforms in phase 2—13 conventional and 11 high-speed platforms. Petitioners described additional provision 3, which was introduced in September 2015 and is now part of the Bill and the scheme, as

“a potentially missed opportunity for holistic regeneration of the station and the area.”

A word about over site development is warranted. I have satisfied myself that over site development is not about forgetting or overlooking bits of the plan—as in “something of an oversight”—but about the potential for structural development above the station. There are magnificent examples and further plans for development above several railway stations, which can be immensely attractive and have considerable potential. Over site development is central to the vision for Euston and critical to providing capacity for the scale of change sought. Over site development enabling works, including a structural deck, will be needed. We understand that that represents a funding challenge, as investment for such structural works will be required up front in the early stages of development. Returns might not be realised for a decade or more, due to the delivery timeframes involved.

I referred earlier to the letter from Mr Hargreaves to Mr Cooke, which contained assurances about the impact of HS2 phase 1 on Euston and the wider Camden area. There is undoubtedly a desire, as expressed by the promoter, to deliver the Euston vision and work collaboratively, as evidenced by the growth strategy to which I referred earlier. The assurances document, as I call it, is the most current and up-to-date commentary that I am aware of relating to my new clauses. It might assist the Committee if we examine how those assurances pertain to the concerns that the three new clauses attempt to address.

On the aim of designing Euston as a single, integrated station, I am pleased to note that the Government have confirmed that the enabling works for over site development at the HS2 station are fully funded. That is most welcome, but it simply addresses the enabling works, not the works themselves. As we proceed, I invite the Minister to indicate the extent to which the Government are willing to give commitments over and above the enabling works. In doing so, will he better describe the full extent of the enabling works and how they will facilitate the comprehensive and integrated development that the majority of interested parties wish to come to fruition?

The assurances reaffirm the fact that the scheme will support local, economic, environmental and regeneration plans and integrate with other local initiatives. That approach is central to developing the design for HS2 Euston station. There is clearly a commitment to engage fully not only with Camden but with Transport for London and the Greater London Authority. I acknowledge that the Secretary of State will require the nominated undertaker to participate in the Euston strategic board, and that any further governance arrangements will include the integration of HS2 Euston with other committed or proposed projects. I note that that commitment is time-limited to the completion of HS2 works. Necessarily that does not include, as currently configured, the upgrade of the conventional rail station and its facilities, which Camden wish to see merely as part of a single integrated railway station, to say nothing of Crossrail 2.

In short, the desire is to go about business, preferably with all three rail elements accommodated in the development, insofar as that can be achieved given the putative status of Crossrail 2 plans. That assurance document, as I call it, demonstrates a real commitment by the respective parties to engage and co-operate, but I am concerned that the promoter is willing only to fulfil the assurance that Camden Borough Council seeks, strictly on the basis

“that the London Borough of Camden will not be pursuing opposition to the Bill on issues of the design and implementation of HS2 Euston Station and comprehensive redevelopment”.

Unless the Minister has some compelling explanation for that conditionality and why it is expressed in that way, I cannot think why such a heavy-handed approach should be necessary. I invite the Minister to disassociate himself from such intimidating—and apparently bullying—language and assure Camden that its continued involvement and collaborative working with other partners and agencies will not be prejudiced should it raise, or continue to raise, concerns and objections to planned designs and implementation, and that, specifically, its participation is not predicated on its acquiescence with such designs and plans for implementation. It is a strange way to collaborate and co-operate by saying, “You can be part of this and will have your say, as long as you do not say anything that we disagree with. If you do, you lose your place at the table.” Perhaps the Minister would address that.

With that significant issue resolved by the Minister, as it must be if the parties are to work together, it is pleasing that the promoter will set up the ESSRB—the Euston station strategic redevelopment board: the acronyms in the Bill grow longer, to reflect the length of the platforms. Its terms of reference deal with the integration, not only of HS2 at Euston station but the rebuild of the main line station, with the caveat of “as and when” such rebuild may be funded and authorised, and supporting the timely consideration to reflect the London Borough of Camden’s ambitions to limit disruption; the Crossrail 2 proposal at Euston; and over site development and related development opportunities above the Euston station and tracks in line with the Euston area plan.

There is a great deal more to the anticipated terms of reference of the Euston station strategic redevelopment board, but there is a huge “but”. Addressing the main line station and Crossrail 2 issues within the terms of reference might be fine as far as those ambitions go, but perhaps the Minister could say more about how far those terms of reference might meaningfully extend to achieving a fully integrated station. Can he guarantee that the design of HS2 Euston will be entirely consistent with achieving total integration with the rebuilt mainline station and Crossrail 2 in due course?

The assurances document admittedly goes a long way to ensuring those objectives are met, but will the Minister confirm that Camden Borough Council will be permitted to express its concerns without receiving a red card, so to speak, as the assurances document suggests? Such assurance would be welcome. If the Minister is able to do that, I expect us to make progress on new clause 25.

New clause 24 speaks to the concern that any designs for Euston station should be in keeping with assurances received by interested parties from HS2 Ltd via the petitioning process. Compliance in that regard would obviate the likelihood of any opposition from Camden and, in the absence of such opposition, would hopefully keep it on the field of play as a collaborative partner.

The design must be in keeping with relevant plans and guidance already published. For example, the Euston area plan states in its design strategy, among other things, that the relevant objectives are about “securing excellent design”, making the best use of space, creating new streets above the station and tracks and “promoting sustainable travel”. Point A of strategic principle EAP2, which concerns design, specifically states:

“Development and change will create an integrated, well connected and vibrant place of the highest urban design quality, which builds on existing character and provides an attractive and legible environment for local people, workers and visitors.”

Point B states:

“Any proposals should fully address the following key urban design principles: improving connectivity by enhancing existing and providing new east-west and north-south links, reinstating the historic Euston area street pattern and improving wayfinding; transforming the public realm through improvements to streets and the buildings that front them; providing active frontages along key streets to enliven streetscapes and make them attractive and safe routes; creating a network of new and improved open spaces and squares;”—

we will return to that in due course—

“ensuring that development is of the highest architectural quality and designed to be accessible to all; responds to the viewing corridors, scale and character of existing buildings, and context; protecting and enhancing heritage assets and their settings that are sensitive to change; and ensuring world class station design and a comprehensive approach to above station development.”

Finally, point C states:

“While the strategic viewing corridors will limit development heights in the Euston area there may be some opportunities for taller buildings subject to design, heritage and policy considerations.”

Will the objectives and principles set out in the Euston area plan be enshrined?

Thereafter, the register of undertakings will record undertakings given by the Secretary of State. New clause 24 would simply serve to reinforce those undertakings, assurances and commitments with the force of law. If the Minister can assure me that all the commitments contained within the Euston area plan and elsewhere, as described in the new clause, will have the force of law without appearing on the face of the Bill, or if he can assure me of their observance by the nominated undertaker, I may be persuaded not to push the new clause to a vote. I await his response with great interest.

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport) 10:45 am, 8th March 2016

Euston is a tremendous opportunity with regard to HS2 and the other developments that will be taking place in the area. It is an opportunity that we should grab with both hands, to maximise its potential. I hope that Camden is signed up to that ambition too.

Local authorities up and down the line are in the process of moving from a “Stop HS2” stance to one of asking, “How can we maximise the benefit for our community?” I think that communities would have expected their local authorities and their councillors to take that initial line, but to then start to engage more fully at the necessary stage. Indeed, I have met with the leader of Camden Council, and she is someone with whom I can do business. We have seen the transformational effect that station development has had at King’s Cross, and I would like to see that echoed in what we do at Euston.

With regard to the specific wording that the hon. Gentleman referred to, I can reassure him that this is not designed to be a gagging order. This wording is an appropriate condition that is included in agreements where petition issues have been met, and aims to make sure that the same issues are not raised in the Lords at hybrid Committee stage. It should be remembered that as a planning authority Camden can object during the detailed design stage of the process.

Regarding new clause 23, I can assure the hon. Gentleman that we have always been cognisant of the need to integrate the new station with the existing transport networks in the area, and to augment them where necessary. On that basis, this clause is unnecessary, as our current proposals for the design of the HS2 Euston station are already designed to dovetail with various potential design concepts for the redevelopment of the conventional side of Euston station by Network Rail, at what we call the B2 stage of the station redevelopment. In particular, our current design, as already set out in the Bill, will enable future east-west permeability across the whole station, and enhancements to the foundations to support future oversite development on the new station.

The hon. Gentleman said that this was a funding challenge, but of course that funding will unlock tremendous development opportunities over the site. The design makes the necessary provision for future passenger connectivity to Crossrail 2, the latter being a strategy that has been developed in close collaboration with London Underground. Incidentally, of course the development at Euston will also result in a massive improvement to the facilities available for London Underground passengers, ensuring better passenger flows and a subway connection from Euston Square station, which currently involves crossing streets.

Furthermore, the design for Euston as set out in the Bill is already set to provide not only the new station for HS2 but sufficient additional capacity for interchange with London Underground and other transport networks, in order to serve HS2 growth as well as growth in underlying demand in the longer term. Indeed, when the first phase of HS2 is open, we anticipate around 30% of passengers alighting at Old Oak Common, as that will be a better station by which to access some of the London destinations and Heathrow airport. That will take some of the pressure off Euston. There may well be a good opportunity for some more development to be carried out by Network Rail while it makes use of the lack of pressure on that station, which is already one of the busiest in the country. It is the Government’s intention that Network Rail would, in this context, develop its own proposals to ensure a joined-up vision across the whole station and support the objectives for the surrounding area.

As for subsection (3) of the proposed new clause, we have provided assurances to the London borough of Camden and Transport for London about working with both these parties, along with Network Rail and the GLA, under the auspices of bodies including the Euston station strategic redevelopment board and the Euston integrated programme board. This will comprehensively address the hon. Gentleman’s objective here.

New clause 24 is unnecessary as the Bill already establishes a special planning regime for the approval of certain details, including the design and external appearance of stations in accordance with schedule 17. The London borough of Camden will be the determining authority for these approvals, and the Euston area plan will be material to its determination in so far as it is material to the matter for approval and the grounds specified in the Bill. Any oversite development above and around the station and tracks will be determined outside of Bill processes, under normal planning processes for which the London borough of Camden will be the determining authority.

The Euston area plan provides the local planning policy framework for deciding submissions for approval of relevant details in accordance with the planning regime established under schedule 17, for approval of over-site development and any other development outside the Bill powers. I should also note that we have of course been working closely with Transport for London to ensure that the approach to transport planning for London is joined up, and specifically that planning for passenger journeys from origin to destination is co-ordinated.

Many of the points I mentioned in my response to new clause 23 from the hon. Gentleman opposite are similarly relevant to new clause 25. Our current plans for the design of the HS2 Euston station already facilitate a variety of potential designs for the conventional station, allowing for the potential for connectivity with Crossrail 2, and providing for over-site development. Network Rail is committed to preparing a planning brief appropriate to the conventional side of Euston station, and is working closely with us and Transport for London to prepare proposals for the conventional station which have been co-ordinated with the new high-speed station. We support the wider vision for the Euston area. Those proposals will be promoted, funded and implemented through Network Rail’s normal control period infrastructure investment programme.

I believe that all the hon. Gentleman’s points have been addressed, so I hope that he will not press proposed new clauses 23 to 25.

Photo of Andy McDonald Andy McDonald Shadow Minister (Transport)

I am grateful to the Minister for his response. I will certainly not press new clause 24, given that he kindly set out that the authority will be Camden, which is greatly reassuring. Similarly, I will not press new clause 25, because the Minister has satisfied me in that respect.

My only concern is about new clause 23. Although he has gone a considerable way towards satisfying me on the issues raised in that clause, he did say that the intention was —I do not know what the words were—to encourage Network Rail to come forward with a plan for the mainline station. I do not wish to be churlish in any way, but that qualification seemed to dilute somewhat the import and intent of new clause 23. It is not something that has been secured, so for that reason, I wish to press new clause 23 to a Division. I am content, however, not to press new clauses 24 and 25.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time.

The Committee divided:

Ayes 5, Noes 10.

Division number 7 Christmas Tree Industry — Designing Euston as a single integrated Station

Aye: 5 MPs

No: 10 MPs

Ayes: A-Z by last name

Nos: A-Z by last name

Question accordingly negatived.

New Clause 26