Worth another look

When I put my series of blogs together on the impacts of HS2 on the area around Euston Station, I realised that I didn’t really have enough photographs to illustrate my text. So I took the opportunity of my recent visit to the offices of Jestico and Whiles, described in my blog Retracing my steps (posted 3 Nov 2012), to take a few more snaps. Hence, I plan to use this blog to redress the deficiency of images by creating here a sort of supplement to the two earlier blogs that were short on photographs.

The first such blog is A stroll down the road (posted 18 Jul 2012) and the first supplementary image is of the Neo-Grecian edifice of 30 Euston Square and, in particular the elevation facing the Square.

30 Euston Square (Euston Square elevation)

The current plans show the building line of the extended station cutting through this building about one-third along the frontage from the right-hand side of the photograph. The view of the building’s new owners, the Royal College of General Practitioners, on what HS2 may mean is expressed on the College’s website as follows:

“Acquiring just the one section affected by the currently proposed expansion of Euston station is not an option, so a ‘worst case scenario’ is that the whole 121,000 square foot property may be subject to a compulsory purchase order. The cost to HS2 of acquiring the whole of 30 Euston Square will be very substantial and in light of the Comprehensive Spending Review and already strong opposition to the project on cost grounds, HS2 and the government will be under severe pressure to avoid such a large additional cost. This strengthens the argument to revise the Euston development plans and find a means of excluding the whole of our property from the currently proposed station footprint.”

The next image is of Walkden House, the offices of the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association, which is wholly within the expanded station footprint.

Walkden House

The photograph below is looking down Euston Street from Melton Street, with Walkden House on the left. The Cottage Hotel, visible on the left of the street, the Bree Louise public house opposite and the domestic buildings on the right of the street all lie within the new station footprint.

Euston Street

Also threatened is the Senator office furniture showroom.

Senator showroom

On the western side of the same block, fronting onto Cobourg Street, are these charming period houses, numbers 59 to 67, which accommodate 11 apartments; these all have the threat of compulsory purchase over them. The Bree Louise is visible in the background.

59-67 Cobourg Street

The second blog for which I have supplementary photographs is Further down the road (posted 22 Jul 2012). The first is of Drummond Street, taken from Euston Street; this street’s status as a major centre for curry restaurants and Asian culinary supply businesses is evident from the closely-packed shop fronts.

The photograph below is of the dwellings of 40-48 Cobourg Street. The map of the expanded Euston Station shows the boundary line running down the centre of Cobourg Street, within a few feet of the frontage of this terrace.

40-48 Cobourg Street

The image below is of the Exmouth Arms public house in Cobourg Street – an ordinary building made somewhat extraordinary by the unbelievable floral display. The situation that this building faces is similar to numbers 40-48 – the published expanded station boundary line is within a few feet of the right-hand side of the building, as viewed in the photograph.

Exmouth Arms

All of the buildings that I have pictured will either be swallowed up by the planned station building expansion or be so close to the new station footprint as to be rendered unsustainable (very probably) – and this assumes the best-case scenario, that the demolitions will only be those required to accommodate the larger station. We do not know what further “improvements” in the area may be proposed, stimulated by the station rebuild. The redevelopment of Euston Station could be an excuse for an extensive land grab, on the pretext of regenerating the area. Personally I think that the area is just fine as it is and would be destroyed by a wholesale rebuild, rather than the selective renovation that it has enjoyed in recent years, but the profits to be made from developments such as high-rise office buildings are likely to be too much for some.

A recent web article adds considerable credibility to my fears of a “huge redevelopment across Euston”, should HS2 go ahead as proposed. If that is on the agenda, then the impacts may be felt well beyond the boundary that has been drawn.

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