This week, the Advantage Structural Warranty team has been taking a look at the updated designs for Old Oak Commons Station, which have been unveiled by HS2 Ltd.
The station in West London will provide a world-class interchange for an estimated 250,000 passengers each day and will be a gateway into Old Oak and Park Royal, one of the largest regeneration sites in the UK. The station design development has been led by engineering professional services consultancy WSP, and architects WilkinsonEyre.
The submission is the next stage in the development of the Old Oak Common site. The local community and wider general public were consulted on the designs for the station in 2019, through a series of formal public engagement events.
Plans to transform the wider area around the station, a former railway and industrial site, are being led by OPDC and they project that the area around the new HS2 station will become a neighbourhood with the potential to create tens of thousands of homes and jobs.
Matthew Botelle, HS2’s Stations Director, said: “Significant progress is already being made at Old Oak Common with site clearance ready for station construction to start. The Schedule 17 submission is the next step in HS2’s delivery of a world class railway, with landmark station architecture designed with future passengers in mind.
“HS2 will transform Old Oak Common, and will be the key to unlocking thousands of new jobs and homes around what will be the UK’s best connected transport hub.”
PBC Today looked at the reported overall benefits of the scheme, stating that: According to HS2 Ltd, the company responsible for building the 345-mile line, the completed HS2 will stop at 25 stations and connect some 30m people. It will cut journey times between London and Birmingham from the current fastest time of 82 minutes to 45 minutes, while also freeing up space on the existing network for more local services and freight.
HS2 Ltd put the expected economic benefits of the scheme at £92bn and said that at the peak of construction, the project will support 30,000 jobs, 70% of which will be outside London.
However, the team at PBC Today acknowledge that the scheme has not been without controversy, citing the concerns of Lord Berkeley, the former civil engineer who resigned as deputy chair of the official review into HS2 over what he saw as a lack of balance in the final report, saying MPs had been “misled” over the costs of the project, which were put at £55.7bn in 2015 but are now expected to be at least £88bn.
He claims HS2 in overdesigned and unnecessary in a country the size of the UK and has called instead for investment in existing rail infrastructure in the North.
PBC Today is inviting their readers to have their say in a survey titled: HS2: Transformational infrastructure or gigantic waste of money?
As reported by the BBC, the Prime Minister gave the project the go-ahead last week but acknowledged it had been “a controversial and difficult decision”.
Labour supports HS2 but has criticised an “abject failure of successive Conservative governments to keep on top of the costs”.
The cost of the programme set out in the 2015 Budget was just under £56bn, but one independent estimate puts likely eventual costs at as much as £106bn.
Even the harshest critics of HS2 would acknowledge that the project will create jobs and opportunities, cutting travel times for many. However, in the face of much scrutiny and, indeed, scepticism, regarding the likely ultimate cost of the project, and the timescale for its completion, the government will face mounting pressure to prove that the large investment it has made in this project could not have been better spent elsewhere on the rail network.
And even if HS2 repays Boris Johnson’s cautious optimism regarding the project, we don’t believe this will subdue the calls for more investment in the rail network in the North of England. In fact, if HS2 does go on to prove the critics wrong and show just what’s possible with some serious investment, we suspect that the calls for better connectivity between northern cities may get louder than ever.