Euston Road closure to cost businesses 'millions' warn critics
Plans to close two lanes of one of London’s busiest roads for six years to allow construction of a new station for HS2 will cause misery for motorists and cost business millions of pounds, critics warned today.
The proposals would see the six-lane A400 Euston Road lose one lane in each direction between Regent’s Park and Pentonville Road from 2020 until 2026.
Camden Council is planning to petition the government this week, arguing the upheaval for the new HS2 terminal “will bring a decade of blight” while potentially putting 3,000 jobs at risk and demolishing hundreds of homes and buildings.
Peter Jones, vice chairman of the Pan Camden HS2 Alliance, a group campaigning against the high-speed rail project, estimated the total losses to residents and businesses would amount to £3billion.
He said: “Clearly it’s going to have a massive commercial impact. It’s got to be billions, I don’t think anyone can say it isn’t. It’s not just about the six-year road disruption, work on the station will have a massive effect too.
“We can say as a baseline that it would cost Camden £1billion. Who knows what the road blockages are going to throw up? I think £3billion wouldn’t be untoward.
“The people of Camden will be paying for this project through social impact and costs to businesses.”
David Leam, the Infrastructure Director for business campaign group London First, warned the current plans were “half-baked”.
He told the Standard: “What we’ve seen with Crossrail is London can adapt to fairly major road disruption and major regeneration work and carry on moving, provided there is a good plan.
“Crossrail at Tottenham Court Road is an example of a good project that’s being well-planned. But with Euston we simply don’t have a good plan. At the moment we only have a half a plan. It delivers an HS2 station but it in no way incorporates the National Rail station.
“It’s as if we’ve learned nothing at all from projects like King’s Cross St Pancras and Crossrail.”
He said: “People are being asked to put up with many years of disruption for no prize at the end of it.”
Alongside the narrowed highway, a string of other streets will be shut or narrowed between 2016 and 2024, including a four-month blockage of Eversholt Street, which links the Euston Road to Mornington Crescent station.
The AA warned drivers potentially faced years of pain and said the timescale for the roadworks was one of the longest seen in the capital for such a project.
A spokesman said: “To lose that capacity potentially is going to have a big knock-on effect. The Euston Road is one of those roads that London depends on.
“It’s of more than local importance for London’s traffic. Closing two lanes of a main highway will be felt pretty significantly.
“I suspect we’ll manage but it will mean pain for some people, it will delay journeys and will delay public transport.”
Minicab firm Addison Lee, which is based near Euston station, has warned of “travel misery” for their customers.
Commercial director Peter Boucher told the Standard: “Addison Lee understands the importance of improving infrastructure but this needs to be balanced with the needs of Londoners going about their daily business.
“The closure of two lanes on one of London’s busiest roads could lead to travel misery for thousands of Londoners. The fact that this misery could last for six years makes it even more worrying.
“We would ask them to look again and see if it is possible to reduce the amount of disruption planned.”
HS2 Ltd spokesman Clive Green said: “HS2 Ltd is doing all it can to keep disruption to a minimum, but acknowledges that building Britain’s new high speed rail network will cause inevitable disturbance.
“We are committed to providing accurate information well in advance of works starting so the public can make alternative arrangements where possible.”