Camden residents fear years of disruption as HS2 given green light with Royal Assent
- Credit: PA Archive/PA Images
Protesters fear that decades of disruption and uncertainty in Camden after plans for the contro-versial High Speed 2 (HS2) railway received Royal Assent.
The track from Euston Station to Birmingham, set to cost in excess of £55billion, was given the green light on Thursdaydespite councillors and campaigners in the borough fighting against the plans for the last six years.
Campaigners from all corners of the borough have called for serious reconsideration of the plans which will blight pedestrians and motorists for 20 years.
Former Primrose Hill resident Stanley Johnson, the brother of former London mayor Boris, of Queen’s Park, said: “It’s a bit like Brexit. It’s happened, we’ve got to live with it and we’ve got to make the best of it. “The Queen has given her consent, the battle is now to make sure that there are really good conditions attached to this project.”
Peter Jones, who lives in Primrose Hill, said: “Even though the Queen said yes, in my mind they [the HS2 committee] haven’t got a clue what they are going to do in Euston. They’ve come up with various plans and none of them have practically worked in engineering terms or financial terms.
“Given there’s a quarter of million people in Camden, that’s an awful lot of people who are going to be affected if they cock it up, which it looks like they may do.
There’s going to be 600 hdvs per day making two way journeys into Camden in terms of taking spoils and materials out, so the most sensible solution for them at the moment would be to use Old Oak Common as a temporary terminal. It has masses of land which could be used to develop into a new mini city. Euston has none.”
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Tim Stockton, of the Pan London Alliance, described HS2 as an “utterly failed and flawed project, lacking in any rationale.” He added: “Old Oak Common is going to be a station anyway but it could be made more of a station and done better. As a short term terminal that could allow a complete rethink which could take the pressure off Euston and allow Euston to be developed holistically.”
Jessica Learmond-Criqui, a solicitor from Hampstead and a vocal campaigner against the Mayor of London’s cycle scheme, said; “It’s an absolute travesty and nightmare all for 20 minutes less travel. HS2 impacts significantly on Cycle Superhighway 11 which runs through Swiss Cottage yet when TFL did their consultation, their model took no effect of HS2 at all.
“That whole area will become practically impassible to traffic. TFL wants to close off Adelaide Road and funnel traffic up the Finchley Road which approximately 70m vehicles use the every year.
“You’re going to get all those millions of cars, white van men and women, commercial vehicles, delivery vehicles, taxi’s buses, all that traffic trying to escape the bottle neck by funnelling into residential areas to the north, Hampstead, and South, St John’s Wood, to escape that bit of Finchley Road they can’t use anymore.
“The traffic from HS2 will be huge and intense and it will be for a very long time. This is the biggest infrastructure project in Europe at the moment.
“Now HS2 has Royal Assent and is definite and CS11 hasn’t yet been approved TFL must now model in HS2 into the CS11 plan and to not do so is to present a disingenuous impact of congestion and pollution awaiting north London residents.”
Sarah Hayward, leader of Camden Council said the council needed to see the details of the new scheme “as soon as possible” and would be pushing for a “comprehensive redevelopment of Euston.”
She added: “We are proud to have successfully secured significant concessions through the difficult parliamentary process, including replacement homes for council tenants and leaseholders, noise insulation for significantly affected homes, limits on construction vehicle emissions and a £3.5 million Camden-wide community fund.
“Residents and businesses will still face daily disruption. Hundreds will see their homes demolished, and thousands more will be impacted by construction noise and up to 800 extra two-way lorry movements every day during busiest periods. We’d prefer the scheme wasn’t going ahead, but our priority now is to hold HS2 Ltd to account on its commitments and make sure it does everything possible to further reduce impacts on Camden.”