Image above: Hammersmith Bridge
Andy Slaughter criticises decision to reduce scope of HS2
Hammersmith MP Andy Slaughter has called for funds from HS2 to be redirected to the restoration of Hammersmith Bridge.
The Government has just announced the High Speed railway project will be cancelled and Transport minister Mark Harper has written to MPs to say it would “benefit every single region” of the country by freeing up £36 billion.
In his response to the minister’s letter Andy Slaughter suggested redirecting some of the funds to Hammersmith Bridge for the much needed repairs and outlined a series of potential issues associated with terminating the high-speed rail line at Old Oak Common station.
Under the Government’s revised plan HS2 will operate solely between Birmingham and London, with Old Oak Common serving as the terminus for possibly the first decade of its operation, instead of Euston.
The new proposal for Euston Station includes a reduced number of platforms, effectively ruling out potential future expansions to cities such as Manchester and Leeds.
In his letter to the minister, sent on Friday (6 October) the Hammersmith MP said:
‘You wrote that projects funded from scrapping the completion of HS2 ‘will benefit every single region’ of our country, but I searched in vain through your list of projects to see what benefit there is for London.
‘There is no motor vehicle access from the east, only a belated plan for a long and unwelcoming cycle and footpath from Scrubs Lane. There are no easy local connections to Overground, tube or bus.
‘The one narrow access road from Old Oak Common Lane is several hundred metres from the station entrance. In the event of fire or terrorist incident, this entrance would be the only route in and out of the station site, which shows a poor attitude to resilience.”
Andy Slaughter expressed concerns about the transfer of disabled passengers between HS2 and the Elizabeth Line, as well as potential overcrowding on existing services. He said there has been minimal effort by HS2 to integrate the station into the broader Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) area, emphasising the significance of Old Oak in the revised HS2 plan.
Image above: The single access road to Old Oak Common station; Photograph from HS2
“Not had the courtesy of a reply”
Andy Slaughter concluded his letter by urging a review of the station’s design and layout to ensure it is fit for its new role and can serve as a catalyst for the development of the OPDC. He offered to discuss these matters further with the Minister.
‘May I ask that you include Hammersmith Bridge in these? You will be aware of the delay in reopening the Bridge because your department has hitherto limited its offered contribution to no more than one third of the repair costs.
‘Given the restricted resources of the GLA and the LB Hammersmith & Fulham, this makes it impractical for work to go ahead. If your Government’s intention is to invest in strategic and local transport projects that will benefit communities, I can think of no better place to start than Hammersmith Bridge.’
He invited the minister to discuss the matter further copying in the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, the leaders of Hammersmith & Fulham and Richmond Councils as well as local MPs Rupa Huq, Sarah Olney, Fleur Anderson and Ruth Cadbury, adding:
‘We approached the roads minister with the same request almost a year ago and have sent several reminders but as yet have not had the courtesy of a reply.’
Mark Harper wrote in his original letter:
‘As the Prime Minister stated, we have to be prepared to take big decisions about our long-term approach to transport infrastructure. We are doing exactly that, setting out a new vision for transport which focuses on the journeys that matter most to people, drives growth and jobs and levels up our country.’
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