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Rallying call issued to Hampstead residents over fears of having HS2 ‘devastation’ ignored

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Thursday, January 23, 2014
5:00 PM

Residents in Hampstead have been warned time is running out to have their views on the High Speed 2 rail-link heard as campaigners fear they could be ignored during council negotiations with the government.

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Camden Council met yesterday to agree upon key areas to petition the government against the £43billion project.

The council has published a preliminary report listing where it will focus its efforts to mitigate the impact of the mammoth transport link.

While mentioning core development areas of Euston and Camden Town as major areas of concern, the impact on Hampstead and other areas in the borough is noticeably absent.

The 50,000-page draft HS2 Bill had revealed Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) are set to pass through Hampstead’s Rosslyn Hill, Haverstock Hill and Hampstead High Street, with an environmental impact report admitting the disruptions would “adversely affect the amenity of residents”.

Even the fragile Heath Street, which has already been forced to close in recent years due to damage, will be used as an HGV transport route.

The Heath and Hampstead Society said the proposals could lead to “crumbling streets”, “rising pollution” and “dreadful” levels of traffic and noise.

Cllr Chris Knight, Conservative representative for Hampstead Town, urged residents to make sure they were not forgotten by the council.

“It’s always a worry that Hampstead won’t be given the same amount of attention as perhaps other places deemed ‘core areas’ of development,” he said.

“But I would argue the ‘core areas’ should be defined as any area affected by this HS2 project.

“The council should be looking to fight for Hampstead residents on the same footing as any other resident in Camden.

“The impact here is significant.

“My inbox is already full of complaints about traffic and now we’re hearing we might have to endure 100 trucks a day coming in and out of Hampstead – it could be devastating.”

Cllr Tom Simon, Liberal Democrat representative for Belsize, said the impact felt in his ward – which includes heavy traffic flow, closed roads, and the construction of a ventilation shaft next to Adelaide Nature Reserve – was also at risk of being sidelined.

“I will be urging the council to include these concerns in its petition – at the moment it is talking in quite general terms,” he said.

“A concern I have is that while all this is five years away, the time to make a noise about it is now.”

The rallying call comes as the government was forced to extend the consultation deadline, originally January 24, after failing to publish almost 900 pages of the draft bill.

Residents now have until February 27 to make their views known.

A spokesman from Camden Council described the petitioning process as“complex and restrictive, saying there were “only certain areas where we can try to influence the bill”.

He said: “If an area isn’t mentioned within the bill then we can’t petition on it.

“Euston and Camden Town are specifically referenced.”

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