Priorities for the OPDC (Supplementary) [7]

Session date: 
March 8, 2017
Question By: 
Andrew Dismore
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
Fiona Fletcher-Smith


Andrew Dismore AM:  Thank you, Chairman.  Could I ask David [Bellamy] and Fiona [Fletcher-Smith]?  May I explore with you the pros and cons of HS2 terminating temporarily at Old Oak Common?  In July last year [2016] the Mayor said, quote:


“I have been clear that I would like to understand whether HS2 could terminate at Old Oak on a temporary basis to minimise disruption and allow for a better overall solution for Euston Station.  This is something that I am discussing with Transport for London.”


Could you confirm what the results of that discussion were and whether Old Oak Common could become a temporary terminus?

Supplementary To: 


Answer for Priorities for the OPDC (Supplementary) [7]

Answer for Priorities for the OPDC (Supplementary) [7]

Answered By: 
Fiona Fletcher-Smith

Fiona Fletcher-Smith (Executive Director – Development, Enterprise and Environment, Greater London Authority):  Yes, I will deal with that.  Yes, we are still pushing that case.  You will be aware that the capacity problems at Euston exist today.  One of the concerns for us is that if HS2 adds to that problem before Crossrail 2 is open and running, the problems at Euston - both the Overground and the Underground station - could be extreme.  That is still a live conversation.


Again, back to an earlier answer, the DfT has been - I will not say ‘distracted’ - concentrating mainly on getting royal assent.  It is now time to get into the detail of how exactly HS2 is going to come into London, how Old Oak will work and how Euston itself will work.


Andrew Dismore AM:  Thanks for that.  This is really what I was going to put to you.  Even if the Government were to give the go-ahead to Crossrail 2 - and that is yet to finally be agreed - on the present plan and timetable it would take at least another four years or so ‑‑


Fiona Fletcher-Smith (Executive Director – Development, Enterprise and Environment, Greater London Authority):  Yes, there is a gap.


Andrew Dismore AM:  ‑‑ for Crossrail 2 to be completed before HS2 comes into Euston.  Given that the Northern and Victoria line platform at Euston and indeed Kings Cross now are often so overcrowded that they have to be closed at rush-hour, is there any way that the onward transport network can cope with the predicted large number of HS2 passengers absent Crossrail 2 or termination at Old Oak Common?  Is not the only workable solution to terminate HS2 temporarily at Old Oak Common and to link it in with Crossrail 1, where we have the capacity now or will have when Crossrail 1 opens, for that period of time so that HS2 and Crossrail 2 could come to Euston more or less at the same time to allow a proper scheme to be developed for a comprehensive regeneration of Euston, rather than the piecemeal proposals we are seeing at the moment?


Fiona Fletcher-Smith (Executive Director – Development, Enterprise and Environment, Greater London Authority):  Absolutely.  It is the answer because you are right in pointing out that there will be a gap even if Crossrail 2 is agreed in the timetable that we would like.


The issue for us is, though, that we also have to maintain pressure on the Government to make sure that it properly addresses the Euston issue and that a temporary solution does not become a permanent solution and so there is a balance for us.  However, absolutely, Old Oak is very much part of the answer to the capacity issue at Euston in, I would say, the medium term, not just the short term, but not letting the Government off the hook on fixing Euston.


Andrew Dismore AM:  David, did you want to add anything?


David Bellamy (Mayor’s Chief of Staff):  What I would say is that you are very right to identify the pressure that exists on the northeast-southwest access through London.  Colleagues will be aware that this week the Crossrail 2 team has submitted the strategic outline business case to the DfT and the Government will spend the next couple of months looking at that.  It is very important for everybody who wants to see relief for those lines - addressing the issues that there will be at Euston when phase 2 of HS2 opens and also the consequences of the increased growth in passengers that we are seeing coming into Waterloo and will continue to see coming into Waterloo - that we stress to the Government that this is a scheme of national importance and it is absolutely essential for our economy, both in London more regionally and in our role as the economic powerhouse of the country, that we make Crossrail 2 happen.


Andrew Dismore AM:  This has happened before with High Speed 1 (HS1).  Initially it terminated temporarily at Waterloo pending the proposals coming forward for St Pancras.  There is a precedent for this.


David Bellamy (Mayor’s Chief of Staff):  The difference is that at Waterloo at the time there was the capacity to cope with HS1.