Ministers ignored the civic society’s pleas to stop the tree felling for HS2
11 January, 2018
The felled trees in St James Gardens at the beginning of January
• THE photograph above shows St James Gardens, on the west side of Euston station, in the first week of January, just after most of the trees had been felled.
We believe some of the magnificent planes now destroyed were planted in the late 18th century, when St James’s Burying Ground was established. This is an enormously sad sight, even more so for being unnecessary at least for the time being.
As we stated in our letter to the New Journal last year (HS2’s carry on regardless! November 9), the Camden Civic Society is unable to find evidence of HS2 Ltd having a feasible way of bringing their high speed trains into Euston: several schemes have been proposed but then rejected by HS2 Ltd themselves, largely because of structural risks.
The problem lies just north of Euston station, in the Camden Cutting where the space available for the tracks and trains of both HS2 and of Network Rail and their train operators is too narrow.
Last month we wrote to both the secretary of state Chris Grayling and the railways minister Paul Maynard, calling on them to halt the demolition and tree felling, and the compulsory property acquisitions which enable them, until a feasible scheme has been published and publicly approved. But so far they have not listened to us.
It might be possible to bring both the HS2 and existing tracks and trains into Euston, though we believe this could not be achieved without amalgamating or diverting some of the existing train services.
If this was done, there would also be room for both within in the “footprint” of the existing station. There would then be no requirement to expand the station westwards, the ostensible reason for the obliteration of St James Gardens.
If it turns out that these trees have been felled unnecessarily, the Camden Civic Society will commission a plaque to record the responsibility of ministers Grayling and Maynard.
Chair, Camden Civic Society