MP Frank Dobson slams HS2 plans that will ‘destroy Camden’ as railway’s budget rises by £10billion

MP Frank Dobson. Picture: Dieter Perry

MP Frank Dobson. Picture: Dieter Perry - Credit: Archant

Holborn and St Pancras MP Frank Dobson lashed out at the government for increasing the High Speed 2 (HS2) railway budget by £10billion at a protest meeting against the plans yesterday.

A full Cecil Sharp House in Primrose Hill for the meeting held in protest of the plans for the HS2 r

A full Cecil Sharp House in Primrose Hill for the meeting held in protest of the plans for the HS2 rail line - Credit: Archant

Transport minister Patrick McLoughlin told the House of Commons earlier that day about revising the projected costs of the high speed rail line to £42.6billion from £33billion, as well as including a £14billion contingency fund.

HS2, which plans to link the capital with Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, will run from Euston directly through Camden affecting 477 homes during construction.

Camden Town will be severely disrupted as the world famous Camden Lock and Camden Road bridges will be demolished and then reconstructed.

The proposals have cross-party support in Parliament.

Mr Dobson, who has represented Holborn and St Pancras in Parliament since 1979, asked residents and business owners in Camden to “stick together” against the proposals to “destroy our area”.

He said: “In a time of austerity, the government has somehow found another £10billion for HS2, with a contingency of £14billion.

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“We were promised all sorts of benefits for the area. But they are lying about these benefits.”

Cries of “hear hear” were heard as Mr Dobson spoke to more than 200 people at Cecil Sharp House in Gloucester Avenue, Primrose Hill.

The longstanding MP revealed he is trying to get a place on the HS2 Hybrid Bill Committee but admitted that members usually had a neutral attitude towards the proposals.

“I will do the best I can to get on the committee and I will continue to oppose HS2 as long as I can,” he said.

“Camden has a settled residential community and a settled business community. We are entitled to be left alone and not have our lives disrupted.”

The comments were made at a meeting organised by the Pan-Camden HS2 Alliance, which evaluates the impact of the proposals on the community.

Rail lines will run directly underneath Gloucester Avenue to link up with the High Speed 1 route, as part of the revised Primrose Hill Plans.

The Gloucester Avenue Residents’ Association is concerned this will blight properties along the road, devaluing them considerably.

Cllr Chris Naylor, who represents Camden Town with Primrose Hill, said: “There will be some people here, sitting in Primrose Hill, thinking that this is Camden Town’s problem.

“But traffic problems will add up to make life very difficult for people, when you go to the shops or pick the kids up from school.”

Architect Jeff Travers presented an alternative ‘double deck’ solution, met with a round of applause, to the improvement plans for Euston station, which would ideally minimise disruption at ground level.

Cllr Sarah Hayward, leader of Camden Council, said: “I will continue to fight HS2 because there is nothing on the table for Camden.”