High Speed Rail - Transport Committee Contents

Written evidence from Derwent London plc (HSR 104)

1.  As Chief Executive of Derwent London plc, I am writing in response to the consultation on high speed rail that will form part of the Transport Select Committee's inquiry.

2.  Derwent London is the largest Central London focussed REIT with a portfolio valued at over £2.4 billion. In particular, we have a substantial land holding adjacent to Euston Station at 132-142 Hampstead Road that will be directly affected by the proposed HS2 central London terminus.

3.  We support investment in the economy through infrastructure projects and indeed supported Crossrail having owned the Tottenham Court Road Station over site development for 20 years.

4.  We are of the opinion that substantial savings could be achieved by altering the route, whilst maintaining the key benefits to the economy of HS2. We therefore urge the committee to consider alternative options to terminating HS2 at Euston.

5.  We support HS2 in principle, however, we are concerned about the significant implications surrounding the route terminating at Euston.

6.  Current plans for the proposed HS2 rail link suggest that the route will follow the North London line through Camden. This would require our Euston site to be the subject of a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO), which has the potential to be the largest ever CPO granted in the United Kingdom. Given the high property values in Central London and in light of the Government's budget reduction programme, substantial savings could be made by not bringing HS2 into Central London and terminating at an alternative site such as Old Oak Common.

7.  Euston Station is already under strain in terms of capacity. The London Underground is unlikely to be able to cope with the additional passenger numbers that will be brought into Euston by HS2 without substantial additional investment. Terminating HS2 at Old Oak Common would avoid this issue by allowing HS2 passengers to connect onto Crossrail.

8.  We support the assertion that should the current plans for HS2 go ahead further consideration will be required in order to deal with the additional large numbers of people arriving at London Euston. We also agree that further consideration needs to be given to the impact HS2 will have on passenger flows across London and particularly the additional demand it will bring to the London Underground.

9.  The Network Rail Route Utilisation Strategy Consultation 2010 contained options which proposed increasing connectivity to Old Oak Common from the West Coast Mainline services. The major benefit of this option is the reduction in demand on the Underground system at Euston. Likewise, this option could be used in respect of HS2 in order to reduce the costs of HS2 and capacity overload coming into London Euston.

10.  The proposed extended terminus for Euston will have significant implications to the surrounding area in terms of long term blight and the damaging effect this will have on the area. The lack of certainty as to timing that a proposal such as this can bring, having experienced the stop/start nature of Crossrail, gives us grave concern.

11.  Should the Euston terminus go ahead the size of the project will also severely impact on the area with hundreds of residential units being demolished as part of the redevelopment. Hammersmith & Fulham Council strongly supports the redevelopment of Old Oak Common and the new homes it will create.

12.  In conclusion, we are of the view that there are more attractive alternatives to terminating HS2 at Euston both in terms of transport connectivity and cost.

13.  We are currently engaging with adjoining owners and the London Borough of Camden in respect of the impact of HS2 and would be happy to provide further assistance or any clarification which would assist the committee.

May 2011

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Prepared 8 November 2011