Fury as Lord Adonis of Camden takes £950-a-day HS2 job to ‘destroy borough’
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A pioneer of the High Speed 2 (HS2) rail link currently on track to bring decades of building work to the heart of Camden is to be one of the first residents to benefit from the scheme – after taking a job as its promoter for £950-a-day.
Lord Andrew Adonis, the Baron of Camden Town, was last week appointed as a new non-executive board member of HS2 Ltd, the state-owned company charged with delivering the scheme.
The move, seen as a ploy to shore up shaky support for the London-to-Manchester transport link in Parliament, has been slammed by many of his anti-HS2 neighbours in Camden who say it will see their taxes pay their local Labour Peer almost £1,000 a day to “help destroy” their own neighbourhood.
The HS2 Bill, currently at Committee Stage in Parliament, will see hundreds of homes in Camden knocked down and parts of the borough transformed into a huge construction site for decades.
Campaign group Save Camden from HS2 tweeted: “Absolutely sickening; Lord Adonis of Camden will get £950 a day from government to destroy Camden.”
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Lord Adonis, who lives “on the edge of Camden”, has long infuriated residents for his unceasing support for HS2 in the face of opposition from local MPs, Camden Council and many residents.
One not known to pull his punches with the former transport secretary is Stanley Johnson, father of London Mayor, Boris. The Park Village East resident, who will find HS2 trains running close to his home, once said at a community meeting on HS2 in Primrose Hill: “Calling Baron Adonis, ‘Baron Adonis of Camden’, is like calling Air Marshall Bomber Harris, ‘Harris of Berlin’.”
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This week, he told the Ham&High: “It’s shocking he’s taken up this role. We have yet to see the slightest expression of concern for the people of Camden from Adonis. It’s unbelievable the number of people affected – his name is an anathema in the borough.
“He can only redeem himself were he to do what he once proposed, and that’s to give serious consideration to having Old Oak Common as the main HS2 terminus in London instead of Euston.
“He also needs to ensure proper compensation arrangements for those affected. The current situation is just absurd.”
Mr Johnson added that the recent U-turn in the fox hunting vote had shown “the slenderness of the government’s majority”, and suggested the government may be panicking about support for HS2.
He said: “I imagine the appointment of Adonis is to shore up the rather shaky support in Parliament. Patrick McLoughlin’s [transport secretary] mega fear is that the Labour vote isn’t solid. We’ve already had wobbles from people like Andy Burnham. Having Adonis on board may help towards that end.”
Lord Adonis said on his appointment: “HS2 is a vital project of national significance. Patrick McLoughlin has been a powerful advocate for the project and the government has risen to the challenge of thinking about the long-term by putting in place a strong team to deliver it.
“Having pioneered HS2 from the very beginning I am really pleased to join the board responsible for delivering it. We must not duck this challenge of providing Britain with a railway fit for the 21st century.”