High Speed 2 rail line will ‘blight Camden for a decade’

Government plans for a new high-speed rail line will “blight Camden for a decade” as almost 500 homes and 40 businesses face the wrecking ball, it has been warned.

The �33billion High Speed 2 (HS2) rail line will cut through Swiss Cottage and Belsize and arc around Primrose Hill before terminating in Euston.

The London to Birmingham link is due to be up and running by 2026 after the government agreed the project on Tuesday (January 10).

But opponents fear the tranquillity of Belsize Park and Primrose Hill will be ruined and house prices threatened when demolition work begins around Euston railway station.

Hundreds of families are also set to lose their homes and others their livelihoods under the controversial plans.


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Camden Council’s environment boss, Labour Cllr Sue Vincent, said: “At a time of economic crisis, it is simply incomprehensible to spend billions of pounds on a project of folly that takes away people’s homes, schools and businesses.

“Construction work in Camden will bring a damning blight for almost a decade once the dust has finally settled.”

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Campaigners have warned that the eight-year building project will cast a cloud over neighbouring areas and the council said it was “dismayed” objections had not been heeded by the government.

Conservative Camden councillor Jonny Bucknell said: “It will cause such a blight to Belsize and there is always a chance of alteration to the water tables if you have a big train line passing through.”

Gordon Maclean, of the Heath and Hampstead Society, warned construction work could spill into neighbouring Hampstead.

“If the traffic needs to go north from construction sites, they’re going to come straight through us,” he said.

A campaign by Primrose Hill residents last year succeeded in re-routing HS2 around the leafy suburb.

But the extensive building work could still see the area return to the dusty 1950s and 1960s when there were many big road projects.

Primrose Hill Cllr Thomas Neumark said: “One of my main concerns is, although it doesn’t actually pass through Primrose Hill, those 50 to 100 metres either side are going to be greatly affected.

“The effects of HS2 will linger well beyond 2026. It’s going to be hanging over our heads, affecting property value and the quality of everyday life.”

Peter Jones of the Pan-Camden HS2 Alliance, said Euston station did not have the necessary “hinterland” for cement mixing and storage, which would inevitably spill over into neighbouring wards.

He said that “this was only the beginning” of the campaign to oppose the rail link and vowed to fight on.

Mr Jones said campaigners would attack HS2’s business plan and lobby MPs from other constituencies to try to scupper the bill as it goes through Parliament.

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