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Comment: Camden Council leader Sarah Hayward dismisses HS2 ‘nimby’ label

Sarah Hayward Sarah Hayward

Sunday, February 23, 2014
9:00 AM

Camden Council’s position on HS2 is clear – we strongly oppose the government’s plans and are fighting tooth and nail to get a better deal for our community.

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The proposals would have a devastating impact on Camden in terms of housing, schools, businesses, our heritage buildings, the environment, traffic disruption, noise and pollution.

Nearly 500 families will be forced from their homes, and many more will be blighted by noisy construction work and disrupted travel.

Local businesses will be destroyed. Iconic and unique places such as Camden Town, which attracts millions of visitors every year, will be ripped apart by years of building work.

The construction phase would blight large parts of the borough for 10 years or more.

That’s why it’s more important than ever that the government listens to the concerns of Camden residents, and I am working hard to make sure they do.

We oppose the plans for HS2 as currently proposed.

However, if the government is going to go ahead with these plans, we want to get the best deal for Camden.

That is why we are working on a series of proposals on how to minimise the disruption for businesses and residents, and help regeneration of the Camden area.

We are pushing government hard for better compensation, better design solutions and changes to minimise the worst of the effects.

We have made clear demands that any work that does go ahead must benefit the people of Camden who will be so negatively affected by the disruption, such as guaranteeing local jobs, local apprenticeships and local procurement.

We have almost reached another major milestone in our campaign against these plans, by finalising our response to the HS2 Environmental Statement – that is, their assessment of the impact from HS2 on the environment.

Our response argues very clearly that the government’s current proposals would cause unnecessary and unacceptable damage in Camden.

We will continue to fight the proposals every step of the way as they go through parliament.

We’re not “nimbys”. We’re a central London borough that is well used to large-scale development. We are thoughtful about what is beneficial to our borough and what isn’t.

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