Nature reserve spared closure after HS2 firm opposed by Camden Council

PUBLISHED: 14:54 26 July 2017 | UPDATED: 15:58 26 July 2017

Adelaide Nature reserve

Adelaide Nature reserve

© Nigel Sutton email

The sparing of a nature reserve from closure following its take over by the HS2 High Speed railway line firm “pales into insignificance” when compared to disruption caused to homeowners, a critic has claimed.

Adelaide Nature Reserve has had its opening hours secured after coming under threat from a planned long term closure, but HS2 critic Jessica Learmond-Criqui has questioned the overall environmental impact of the scheme. Picture: ArchantAdelaide Nature Reserve has had its opening hours secured after coming under threat from a planned long term closure, but HS2 critic Jessica Learmond-Criqui has questioned the overall environmental impact of the scheme. Picture: Archant

In an announcement made on Tuesday, Camden Council claimed it had pushed high-speed rail developer HS2 Ltd into keeping Adelaide Road Nature Reserve in Chalk Farm open to the public claiming a temporary possession notice could have closed it “for a significant period of time”.

Camden objected to the closure of the reserve – originally a hay meadow providing feed for horses in London – fearing its impact on groups including the Adelaide Nature Reserve Association and green gym.

HS2 Ltd had also planned to erect hoardings around the site, first set up as a reserve in 1984, blocking public views.

Following negotiations, HS2 Ltd has committed to only closing the reserve when it needs to carry out works next month and a few days at a time for additional works leading the council to believe there now should be little impact.

The company also dropped plans to erect hoardings, instead carrying out works to the existing barrier and installing a new wire mesh fence at the site of the Adelaide Road entrance.

Cabinet member for transport Cllr Phil Jones said: “We are pleased HS2 Ltd has listened to our concerns around its disproportionate closure.

“We continue to push HS2 Ltd to find ways to reduce the impact of the railway scheme,” he added.

But HS2 critic Jessica Learmond-Criqui said this “small win” pales into “insignificance” when compared to the disruption to residents HS2 will cause.

“With residents losing their homes and the tsunami of pollution coming our way from HS2’s diesel trucks, it is hard to feel elation at this small but important victory,” Ms Learmond-Criqui said.

An HS2 spokesman said: “Our work at the reserve is part of our commitment to ensure HS2 delivers a legacy of high quality green spaces.

“We will work with contractors, Camden Council, wildlife groups and the community to ensure it remains accessible wherever possible.”

In April HS2 Ltd announced its intention to take possession of the reserve for two years from August in order to create new wildlife habitats and move species from construction sites.

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