Hampstead could be besieged with lorries as HS2 shortlists O2 Centre carpark as ‘holding area’
- Credit: Archant
Hampstead residents face the prospect of hundreds of HGVs thundering down Finchley Road twice a day for years to come after the O2 centre car park was named by HS2 as a potential lorry holding area for the construction of the railway.
The carpark is one of five Camden sites being considered by HS2 Limited as an additional holding area on its shortlist of seven.
The other Camden sites shortlisted are in the south of the borough in Hampstead Road, Euston Road, Freight Lane and Granby Terrace - all closer to HS2’s proposed terminus at Euston Station.
Two Westminster sites are also under consideration, with one lorry holding area already set to be built in the London Zoo car park.
Camden Council - which remains vehemently opposed to the scheme - said it is pushing HS2 Ltd to address the impact of “polluting and potentially dangerous” lorries on the borough’s roads.
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A statement from Camden said: “The council is clear that the case for an additional lorry holding area has not yet been adequately made.
“If one is to go ahead, any further site must not increase the impacts of the scheme on local residents, cyclists and road users.”
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But resident Clive Beecham, who lives on the border of Swiss Cottage and St John’s Wood, said that whichever site is chosen, he fears the combination of HS2 and Cycle-Superhighway 11 (CS-11) will effectively “strangle” the area in a noose of noise, traffic chaos and pollution.
Mr Beecham, a company director, said: “We will be hit with a tsunami of traffic congestion, whether or not the O2 centre is chosen.
“TfL did not take account of HS2 at all when they modelled for CS-11. There will be an extra 800 lorry movements a day through north-west London - and that’s quite apart from this proposed holding area.”
Mr Beecham added: “It seems that HS2 are invincible, and will do what they like, so we are more hopeful of a change to the CS-11 scheme.
“It’s ridiculous that the impact of the two schemes together was not considered by TfL, which is why we are appealing to our MPs, Tulip Siddiq and Karen Buck, to help.”
Eight other potential sites in Camden have been rejected by HS2 after the council argued they would have increased construction traffic on inappropriate residential roads.
HS2’s report finds that the seven locations on the shortlist are “reasonable alternatives” to a possible on-street lorry holding area next to Park Crescent.
The options will be subject to further study and the report states that other sites may emerge as further work progresses.
A statement from HS2 Ltd said: “The decision on where to locate lorry holding areas will be reached after Royal Assent, when a contractor is appointed and the construction timetable is developed.
“HS2 Ltd understands how important this is issue is to local people and will continue to engage with residents, the London Borough of Camden, City of Westminster Council and TfL as logistics are developed.”