Written evidence from the London Borough
of Newham (HSR 162)|
1.1 We believe the compelling argument in favour
of a new high speed rail network is not just that it will bring
UK cities together with resulting economic benefits but that it
can also link the West Midlands, the North and Scotland with European
destinations for trade, commerce, leisure and tourism.
1.2 Business growth overwhelmingly relies on
transport infrastructure, and if the Government is serious about
rebalancing the UK's economy and generating further growth outside
the capital, high speed rail is a pre-requisite. Huge extensions
of the European high speed rail network are being planned and
delivered. The UK should be looking at becoming an integral part
of this network.
1.3 That is why Newham has welcomed the link
between the new high speed two line and the existing high speed
one (Channel Tunnel) line currently operated by Eurostar. The
country is constructing a railway for the next 100 years; given
this, it is critical to take the long term approach. The alternative
is to build a discrete set of lines which fail to join up and,
by extension, fail to capitalise on the growth which would be
generated by a link between European cities and the UK regions.
1.4 Those who question the existence of a market
to travel between the UK North and Europe are often not including
economic projections around growth and business relocation. We
remain concerned that regeneration benefits are not fully taken
into account in the appraisal of major transport schemes. In many
transport schemes (the Thames Gateway Bridge is a local example)
regeneration benefits are not fully included in the Benefit to
Cost and investment appraisals.
1.5 The regeneration benefits seen at existing
Eurostar stations have driven at least £6 billion of gross
A report for London and Continental Railways on the total regeneration
benefits of High Speed 1 estimated these as £17 billion.
LSE and the University of Hamburg also demonstrated that high-speed
rail lines bring significant economic benefits to the communities
they serve, the first thorough statistical research on the subject.
Towns connected to a new high-speed line saw their GDP rise by
at least 2.7% compared to neighbours not on the route.
1.6 The benefits of investment in transport are
well documented; High Speed 2 Ltd's work demonstrated that the
first step of the London to Birmingham high speed line would generate
a return of £2 for every £1 spent.
2. THE STRATEGIC
2.1 Having said this, we believe the proposed
current HS2 route does not make the most of existing high speed
rail assets. Stratford International station, in Newham, is international
only in name and we believe it is in danger of becoming a white
elephant; despite its strategic location at the heart of the 2012
Olympic district springing up in London's new metropolitan centre.
We believe Stratford is an option that has not been fully explored
in the consultation.
Sweating existing transport assets
2.2 Stratford International station has had public
investment of over £210 million to make it fit for its purpose
as an international stopping point, and £238 million has
been invested in an extension of the Docklands Light Railway due
to open this summer and enabling international travellers better
access to Docklands in particular. Yet still no international
services are stopping at the station.
2.3 We have clear evidence that demonstrates
a commercial case for operators to stop at Stratford now on the
existing High Speed One line. However, we are also anxious that
the station is utilised to its full potential in the new network.
2.4 Stratford could be used as a complementary
station to Euston and Old Oak Common with international
trains from Birmingham and the North using Stratford as their
London stop and also with Stratford acting as an intermediary
stop for some intercity High Speed Two trains.
Preventing duplication of investment
2.5 There are several advantages to Stratford.
The London Borough of Newham supports a station at Old Oak Common
in West London in order to enable a connection between the new
HS2 and the existing HS1 lines. However, the original role for
the Old Oak Common interchange station did not envisage it as
an international station. Since the Old Oak interchange station
was first proposed it has now been suggested its scale should
be enhanced so that it becomes a superhub and an international
station - with the infrastructure alone costing over £200
million. This clearly duplicates investment in Stratford.
2.6 If Old Oak is used as an international station,
passengers would have to change at Old Oak and board a second
(HS1) train in order to complete their journey to Europe. However,
we do also need to be able to provide a single train service joining
the North and the Midlands to the European network. We believe
Stratford to be the best option for this.
2.7 Stratford International already has the facilities
needed to be an international station. With the recent addition
of the eastern egress walkway, the capacity of the station for
traveller numbers has been doubled. Using Stratford can therefore
relieve the pressure on Euston by dispersing excessive traveller
numbers, providing a more sustainable solution. Utilising Stratford
as an existing asset would create a more sustainable solution
for the future needs of the capitalpopulation growth around
Euston has already peaked and the expansion needed to make Euston
a station is already very considerable.
2.8 It can also link international business clients
with Canary Wharf and the City in a fraction of the time it would
take them to travel from St Pancras, Euston or Old Oak Common.
It is vital we "sweat the use" of such a transport asset.
2.9 The stop at Stratford would create extra
passengers from a large and distinct catchment area including
much of London, Essex and East Anglia to join the trains. Stratford
covers one of the widest catchment areas in Greater London and
is easier to get to by car, taxi and public transport for most
passengers, with the exception of those coming from West London.
And as the planned economic development continues in the East,
more passenger numbers will be generated.
2.10 Colin Buchanan Associates have demonstrated
that stopping at Stratford now on High Speed One (existing Channel
Tunnel line) is financially viable, would see two million passengers
opt to use the station annually and deliver £600 million
in user benefits in the evaluation period (based on the Department
for Transport's own methodology for valuing journey time savings).
2.11 Some 30% of Eurostar passengers would switch
to Stratford from St Pancras. An additional 51,000 passengers
would be created through Eurostar stopping at Stratford. The revenue
contribution from stopping at Stratford International has been
conservatively estimated at around £5.5 million by 2016 and
£7 million by 2026. The latter forecast in particular is
likely to be on the low side when Crossrailwith five stations
in Newhamis operational and additional West Anglia services
are expected to be available by 2021.
Following existing economic growth trends in London
2.12 By 2025 when the line is built, many passengers
will have East London as their end destination. Stratford is at
the centre of a growing commercial district in East London. This
stretches Old Street to the Olympic Park including the Prime Minister's
vision for a "Tech City" in East London, down to London's
only Enterprise Zone in the Royal Docks, and across to the O2,
Greenwich peninsula, Canary Wharf and the City. This new growth
corridor would be hugely supported by the ability to utilise Stratford
as the international high speed rail hub it was intended to be.
There is currently no major transport hub east of Liverpool Street
to serve this growing business community.
2.13 We are expecting East London to become the
economic powerhouse for the capital over the next two decades.
Stratford holds a unique strategic position in the economic development
of London and the UK as a whole. Within the next decade, it will
have become London's major metropolitan centre outside the City
and West End, with the development of a high quality commercial,
residential and retail offering, including Westfield Stratford
City and the Olympic parklands. Stratford will be a prime visitor
attraction; a vibrant area to work and do business; and a fantastic
place to live.
is home to the Olympic Park, the biggest new urban park in the
already has 5 million square feet of consented office space.
is opening the biggest urban retail development in Europe at Stratford.
Westfield's £1.5 billion scheme includes 340 shops opening
in September 2011.
is the growth hub along with the Royals for the Mayor of London's
Green Enterprise District.
already enjoys enviable transport connections into west London,
the City and Canary Wharf. It currently takes around 12 minutes
to travel to Canary Wharf, 20 minutes to Oxford Circus, and 25
minutes to Westminster (all direct services). This connectivity
will be further supported by the opening of the DLR Stratford
Internation extension in the summer of 2011 and Crossrail in 2017,
which will link Stratford to Heathrow in the West.
2.14 Independent analysis by Oxford Economics
shows that the potential for growth in East London is hugely significant
and could have a national impact. However, the right infrastructure
is absolutely vital to enable us to capitalise on potential for
growth and regeneration. If we do not provide the right conditions
for the private sector to invest over the next decade, it may
2.15 This explains the significant business backing
we have for the Stratford case, from AEG (owners of the O2), Canary
Wharf Group, Westfield Stratford City, and London's largest international
conference centre ExCeL, among others. It also has cross political
party support. Lord Heseltine, Chair of the Regional Growth Fund
advisory board has said: "The fact that we are still arguing
about whether High Speed One trains should stop at Stratford after
all of this time is mind blowing, and represents a massive failure
379 Developmentpressreleases,KingsCrossCentralLimitedPartnership,StratfordCitydevelopmentlimited. Back
From Periphery to Core: economic adjustments to high speed
rail by Gabriel M Ahlfeldt (LSE) and Arne Feddersen (University
of Hamburg) Back
High Speed Rail Command Paper, p.13 (Mar 2010) Back