COMMENT: Peter Jones from campaign group SOS Camden blasts ‘shameless’ HS2 execs
13:00 22 February 2014
What do you do when a new government-sponsored company moves into your neighbourhood claiming to bring regeneration, jobs and future benefit?
Well, you might be pleased as Punch. However, once you start to deal with the officers of the company and scrutinise the reasoning, a different picture emerges.
Offers to consult with the community become a shameless exercise in prevarication and contempt.
Negotiations with your local council are undertaken only under non-disclosure agreements and collapse as the company realises the better the outcome for the neighbourhood, the higher the cost to itself, which is not acceptable. This is HS2 Ltd.
They know what they want and they have all-party backing for their activities, no matter how nefarious. And what do they want?
They want to demolish hundreds of homes because that is the easiest way to build their station; they want to take the roads of Camden for themselves for 600 lorry movements a day out of Euston. They want to establish construction depots across Camden with lorry movements from Hampstead in the north and Euston Road in the south.
They don’t care about the lives of residents or air quality and they don’t care about the economic impact on the borough.
They don’t care that Camden, which produces a staggering one per cent of UK GDP, will suffer uncompensated loss of at least £1.1bn. They don’t care that Camden will suffer 10 years of disruption and blight.
And don’t expect Parliament to be your friend. There is no HM Opposition from the Lib Dems or Labour to HS2, with the latter seeming to be blindly led by the unelected Lord Adonis of Camden.
Don’t expect to be given any rational justification for HS2. The business case has been effectively abandoned after several heroic but futile defences.
There are 200,000 people in Camden and we can’t all be “nimbys”.
We have a right to a decent family life, but HS2 in its current benighted form will deny us that for at least 10 years – and for no good reason.