New office block to be smashed down by HS2 bulldozers after only five years
Trail of demolition continues even though rail project could be cancelled
28 August, 2019 — By Tom Foot
Granby House has a date with the wrecking ball
A MODERN five-storey housing and office block is to be torn down by HS2 in the coming weeks – only five years after it was built.
Granby House in Granby Terrace was given planning permission before the under-fire railway project was first announced and was built in 2014 directly in the path of the proposed new high-speed railway line to Euston and next to three council-owned housing blocks that had been earmarked for demolition.
Property owner David Goldstein, who lives in Camden Town, said he was forced to build the property despite the prospect it might have to come down shortly after it was finished because HS2 – the company set up by the government to run the project – was not agreeing to buy properties at that time. A clock was ticking because there was a time limit on the planning agreements which had been granted by the council.
Mr Goldstein said: “We tried our best to get them to buy the site from us, and to save the taxpayer money.
But they didn’t have the finances at that time to complete the process. We started development in good faith, we didn’t know it [HS2] was going to happen at that time – no one could be 100 per cent sure it was going to happen. It was some years before they decided to actually go through with it.”
The building’s two offices and five flats have been rented out since construction was completed. The modern block contains brand new kitchens with new boilers and Mr Goldstein said he was unsure what would happen to those fittings. HS2 said that some kitchens and bathroom fittings installed in nearby council blocks had been given to charities.
HS2 bulldozers are currently moving in on Stalbridge House, while Ainsdale has already been knocked down. Silverdale and Eskdale is due to follow. Hundreds of tenants have been moved into new build blocks built in the Regent’s Park Estate.
Camden is one of the areas worst affected by HS2 in the country and faces 20 years and demolition and disruption to make way for the new service to Birmingham, and later cities in the north.
Some businesses – including the Bree Louise pub in Euston and a nearby hotel – have already been seized under compulsory purchase orders and flattened. Thousands of bodies, meanwhile, are being dug up from a burial ground close to the station so the work can go ahead.
The whole project, however, has now been placed under review by Boris Johnson’s government amid criticism about the cost of the line.
A HS2 spokesman said that all demolition works would be continuing as planned until the government, which has launched a review into the project, instructed otherwise. Its latest construction update added: “We are continuing the demolition works within the worksite at Regent’s Park Estate. The Ainsdale building is now demolished to ground level with works continuing to remove the basement slab. The taller buildings, Eskdale and Silverdale, will be demolished using a long-reach muncher and a crane which will hang a protective screen in front of the works to prevent material from escaping.”
He added:”This method reduces noise and because Eskdale and part of Silverdale will not be scaffolded, reduces the number of vehicles travelling to and from the site. Silverdale will be scaffolded on the wing closest to Coniston due to the proximity of the demolition.”