HS2 project 'dealt potentially fatal blow'

Reports that the High Speed Two (HS2) rail project has been dealt a 'potentially fatal blow' feature in today's newspaper round-up.

The Telegraph reports that "HS2 has been forced to scrap plans for its London terminus at Euston, dealing the high-speed rail project a potentially fatal blow". The newspaper says funding problems mean the line would instead run from Old Oak Common, near Harlesden, four miles west of central London – "shattering the route’s city centre to city centre appeal, adding time to journeys and further harming the scheme’s already poor business case". Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has said he would withdraw his support for HS2 if it ended at Old Oak Common, calling it the "Ryanair solution, stopping in the middle of nowhere."

Writing in the Observer architecture critic, Rowan Moore, says the proposed garden bridge across the Thames "is nothing but a wasteful blight". Moore says: "The bridge’s fans back it with good intentions. They want something beautiful. They believe that a great city shouldn’t stand still. They are right to explore ideas like this. But there comes a time to recognise that the thing they love is not what they thought it would be, that their nice idea just doesn’t work. It is not a tranquil walk in woodlands. It is not a genuinely public place. It is not free. It is not a well-conceived piece of transport infrastructure. It is a crowded and overstyled chunk of heavy engineering garnished with urban parsley. It is an ill-informed gamble with one of the great places of Britain".

The Guardian reports that a row over aircraft safety near Middlesbrough FC’s home ground is blocking a plan to install wind turbines at top football clubs around the country. The newspaper says Middlesbrough "was to act as a testing ground for the Empowering Wind group, which hopes to roll out to top-flight grounds around the country". But it adds that the local airport has asked for "£700,000 over 20 years to pay for new radar it said was needed to prevent interference at Durham Tees Valley airport".

The Times (subscription required) reports that a man who built a temporary toll road without planning permission lost £15,000 in the venture. The newspaper says Mike Watts "spent more than £300,000 constructing a 365m two-lane diversion through fields after a landslip caused cracks to appear in the A431 west of Bath in February, leading to its closure on health and safety grounds". But the council finished work on the repairs earlier than expected, the newspaper adds, meaning Watts failed to recoup his investment.

An article in the Observer says that while London "provides a model of integrated investment, elsewhere growth is slowed by fragmentation and bottlenecks". The piece says that "even if you grant a capital city special treatment, transport executives in the north point out their networks fall far short of comparable regions such as the Ruhr area of Germany or the Dutch Randstad conurbation".

The Observer also reports on the regeneration of Stoke-on-Trent. The newspaper says that "dealt seemingly fatal blows by successive governments since the 80s", the town "is at last starting to recover".

The Independent reports that engineers "have revived a 70-year-old plan to move water from the rain-soaked North to the drought-prone South East, saying it is the only long-term solution to the chronic water shortages faced by Britain’s most densely populated region". The newspaper says that the plan, "which was first mooted in the 1940s, would involve a network of canals built along the 310-foot contour of the land running from Kielder Water in Northumberland – the biggest man-made reservoir in the UK – to the Midlands and the South-East".


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