Transport chiefs, despite dedicating eight years to planning and designing the troubled HS2 hub at Euston, are now at a loss as to what they want it to become.
A scathing report from a watchdog highlights that the costs for the flagship 10-platformed station are set to exceed the budget of £2.6 billion, reaching a staggering £4.8 billion, with ministers having no understanding of the impact on the local community.
Earlier this year, construction on the troubled line was halted after The Sun exposed the chaos surrounding the project. The future of the Euston hub remains uncertain as ministers continue to clash with the Treasury over funding.
The project is experiencing soaring inflation, resulting in substantial increases of up to 40 percent in the cost of raw materials for the high-speed train venture.
The report from the watchdog demands an urgent reassessment of the station’s designs and expectations in light of the allocated budget. Additionally, the Treasury must outline how it plans to manage the escalating inflation affecting the station’s costs.
Dame Meg Hillier MP, Chair of the Committee, commented, “The HS2 Euston project is floundering. This multi-billion-pound scheme, which has already caused significant disruption to the local community, has been put on hold.
The pause, ostensibly to save money, comes with its own costs, including the need to mothball the project and potentially compensate affected businesses for lost work. The government must now clarify its objectives for this new station and how it will benefit the public.
Our report reveals that an overly optimistic budget was set for HS2 Euston in 2020, expecting subsequent revisions. The government must demonstrate that it is not repeating the same mistakes of unrealistic cost estimations. HS2 Euston has highlighted that forging ahead without clear direction is unequivocally the wrong approach.”
A spokesperson from the Department for Transport (DfT) responded, stating, “We remain committed to delivering HS2 from Euston to Manchester in the most cost-effective manner for taxpayers.
Earlier this year, we made the decision to rephase the construction of Euston to ensure fiscal balance and develop an affordable design for the station. The National Audit Office recently acknowledged that this decision provides an opportunity to establish a more stable foundation for the station’s design.
We continue to work diligently to deliver the transformative benefits of HS2, connecting our major cities, creating numerous jobs, and stimulating economic growth. We take note of the recommendations outlined in the Committee’s report and will respond to them in due course.”