Camden residents should get fair compensation for ‘unprecedented’ HS2 disruption, Lords say
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Camden residents affected by the construction of High Speed 2 (HS2) should be given “fairer” compensation, a House of Lords report has recommended.
The HS2 rail line will connect Euston station with the Midlands by 2026 and with the North by 2032.
But Regent’s Park, Somers Town, St Pancras, Adelaide Road, Alexandra Palace and Salusbury Road are set to be hit by years of “unprecedented disruption” while it is constructed.
The Lords report, published on Friday, said the “human rights of thousands of residents” in Camden must be respected by guaranteeing a fair balance in compensation between rural and urban residents.
The report stressed: “In Camden the works will continue until 2033, as more than one elderly petitioner said, for a period exceeding his or her life expectancy, and as some parents said, throughout the whole of their children’s childhoods.”
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It added that the assumption that urban residents “must expect to put up with construction noise from time to time, and that compensation should be solely or primarily for permanent detriment once the construction phase is over, and the project is in operation” was “no longer acceptable” and should change.
Cllr Sarah Hayward, leader of Camden Council, said the borough has “won the moral battle”.
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“The ball is now in HS2 Ltd’s court to pay up to residents who will endure years of noise, dust and disturbance,” she said.
She added: “Since HS2 was first proposed, we’ve stood with residents and businesses to highlight the unprecedented disruption its construction will have in Camden and the unfair discrepancy between rural and urban compensation.
“HS2 Ltd should know we won’t be standing idly by – we’ll be here, along with Camden’s community, pressing them to act on the House of Lords’ clear advice.”
Transport minister Andrew Jones responded to the report by expressing gratitude to the Lords and petitioners for their time and efforts.
“We will consider carefully the recommendations in the report and respond shortly,” he said.
“We have listened to those affected by the scheme and in many cases we have been able to put in place arrangements to address their concerns.”
He added: “This report marks another significant step towards getting spades in the ground for this transformational project.”
The Lords and Cllr Hayward also focused on the need to transform Eustion into a “world-class” station.
“The present splitting of the design between the proposed HS2 station and the current dilapidated Network Rail station will fail to achieve this,” Cllr Hayward said.
“This is unlikely to maximise the potential for new jobs and homes we desperately need around a leading gateway to London we can take pride in.”