Camden Council hires giant global PR firm in battle against HS2

11:00 13 March 2014

The new team will join Camden Council in helping represent their views on HS2. Picture: Dieter Perry

The new team will join Camden Council in helping represent their views on HS2. Picture: Dieter Perry

Dieter Perry

Camden Council has upped the ante in its campaign against the government’s High Speed 2 rail link after forking out £250,000 to hire a team of legal, PR and rail experts.

A panel of leading lawyers, lobbyists and engineers will join council officers to help the borough avoid what the council claims will be a “decade of blight” should the £50billion transport link go ahead as planned.

The proposals would see the borough transformed into a densely populated building site, with thousands of construction workers, hundreds of HGVs and a fleet of cranes making it their new home for the next 10 years.

Among those being drafted in by the council are leading QC Neil Cameron, an expert in planning and compulsory purchases, parliamentary agents Sharpe Pritchard, who advised Westminster Council and Canary Wharf Group on Crossrail, and leading public relations firm Burson-Marsteller.

At a time when the council is already under pressure to make significant savings to its budget, council leader Cllr Sarah Hayward said she “bitterly resented” council taxpayers having to foot the bill.

“All the parties elected to Camden Council have unanimously opposed the current plans, and now we’re stepping up our campaign into a new gear ahead of the second reading debate, anticipated as soon as next month,” she said. “The parliamentary process is arcane and massively complicated, which means we have to use external expert parliamentary agents, a top barrister and now Burson-Marsteller to boost our efforts.

“As we’re going to have to show that our alternative solutions, which are better for Camden people, also stack up in engineering terms, we also have to employ top engineering firms.

“The biggest threat warrants the best possible response, although of course I bitterly resent seeing taxpayers’ money spent on this, instead of front line services.”

The second reading of the HS2 Hybrid Bill in the Commons is estimated to be on April 28 at the earliest. Should the bill pass, this will be followed by a select committee process in which the council’s “petition” is likely to involve the council formally giving evidence to a committee of MPs for several days.

Next month, HS2 Ltd will bring in its own new employees, including Tony Blair’s former spokesman Tom Kelly as communications director.


Latest News Stories

Keir Starmer arrives with his wife Victoria at the election count. Picture: Polly Hancock

It’s been six months since Sir Keir Starmer won the safe Labour seat of Holborn and St Pancras by a huge majority.

51 minutes ago
Hornsey Town Hall Appreciation Society members. From left Amanda Carrara, Chris Currer, Mark Afford, Miriam Levin and Dave Winskill.

The fight for community ownership of Hornsey Town Hall continues, even though the council officially invited bids from developers last week.

Expedition 45 Commander SCOTT KELLY took this selfie photograph during a 7-hour and 16-minute spacewalk. This was the first spacewalk for both Kelly and Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren; the two will venture outside the International Space Station for the second time on next Friday. Kelly becomes the U.S. astronaut who has lived in space the longest during a single U.S. spaceflight, and on Monday, Nov. 2, the crew celebrates the 15th year of a continuous human presence in space aboard the station. (Credit Image: © NASA/ZUMA Wire)

Young gardeners are preparing for a close encounter of the herbaceous kind when they attempt to grow seeds from outer space.

Yesterday, 17:00
Volunteers plant a new herbaceous border to mark Waterlow Park's 125th anniversary. Picture: Polly Hancock

Volunteers armed with gardening forks and spades replanted a herbaceous border to mark a Highgate park’s 125th anniversary.

Yesterday, 11:00
Bridget Cherry pictured at Hornsey Tower

Bridget Cherry's book, Ivy-Mantled Tower A History of the Church and Churchyard of St Mary Hornsey has been published by The Hornsey Historical Soc. Picture: Nigel Sutton

In telling the story of a long-vanished parish church, architectural historian Bridget Cherry has delved into the heart of what was once Hornsey village.

Yesterday, 10:00
Paul Young, 18, who won the Personal Journey award and was named Inspirational Young Person of the Year at the Camden Youth Awards. Picture: Dieter Perry

Paul Young struggled to cope after suffering mental health problems, being bullied at school, and having to care for his unwell mother.

Fri, 17:29
Crouch End Festival Chorus at St John's Smith Square. Photo: Emily Soppet

The Crouch End Festival Chorus is taking a deep breath and running a 12-hour sponsored singing marathon this Saturday to raise funds for a major recording project.

Fri, 16:48
Flowers on Parkland Walk

Police are investigating after live ammunition was discovered in Parkland Walk.

Most read news

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot


MAC Makeup

MAC are renowned for their flawless, fabulous make up that is used worldwide by the stars. You too can have the chance to have the perfect makeup to suit your needs with £1,000 to spend on all the glam goodies you like!


You are never far from an Argos, wherever in the country you may be. They are like a magical cavern where whatever you need they seem to have it out the back behind the counter. So why not put them to the test with this great MyOffers competition to win £1000 to spend in-store.

Digital Edition

Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder