Council leader Sarah Hayward tells High Court that HS2 rail scheme will cause uncertainty and disruption to homes, businesses and schools

Thursday, 6th December 2012

Council leader Sarah Hayward has provided written evidence to a judicial review at the Royal Courts of Justice into the £34billion HS2 rail scheme

Published: 6 December, 2012

TOWN Hall leader Sarah Hayward has told the High Court how Camden is facing a catastrophic deal in the face of government plans to build a high-speed rail link to Birmingham.

She has provided written evidence to a judicial review at the Royal Courts of Justice into the £34billion scheme which threatens to lead to almost a decade of construction work. There are plans for demolition around Euston and opponents also worry that Camden Town will face severe disruption.

On the latter point, it is suggested the HS2 line could be linked up there with HS1, Britain’s first high-speed rail link which provides a fast track to the Channel Tunnel in Kent.

Councillor Hayward said: “The council does not enter into this claim against the Secretary of State lightly. It was a decision that took a lot of deliberation, where we had to weigh in the balance the cost of taking this action against the consequences if we didn’t.”

Camden is part of a group of local authorities which has paid to take the issue to judicial review, scheduled to last all week.

The alliance, called “51m”, has a series of complaints, including the view that the Department for Transport approved the scheme without properly surveying its impact or consulting residents. It also argues that the environmental impact of the project has not been fully appreciated.

Cllr Hayward outlined how the project could hit Camden, including a community around Euston where up to 500 homes are facing the bulldozer.

The New Journal revealed last week that no official guarantees have been made to rehouse residents on the site of the disused National Temperance Hospital in Hampstead Road.

The council leader said that it was not just people’s homes the council was going to court for. “Quite apart from the dwellings, HS2 would involve the loss of at least two-thirds of St James’ Gardens, which is a very well used and locally important public open space adjacent to Euston station,” she said.

“The scheme comes extremely close to Maria Fidelis primary school. Part of the playground will fall within the new station, but it seems highly likely that more of the school land will be required during construction.

"There must be considerable doubt over whether the school will be viable, certainly during the construction phase, with noise and other disturbance in such exceptionally close proximity.”

Cllr Hayward added: “There will be enormous impacts on the business community in the area, particularly centred on Drummond Street and the small businesses around, with at least 20 commercial properties needing to be demolished.

"The viability of ­other businesses around Drummond Street throughout the construction phase of seven to eight years would also be in doubt.

“HS2 is already causing blight in the area. Major sites are being delayed from coming forward because they fall within the path of HS2 and an enormous amount of uncertainty has now arisen around the area,” she warned.

Businesses in Camden Town are also watching the fate of the scheme closely amid fears that the project will spill over there.

“There is a concern that the situation has arisen whereby the works required to accommodate the HS2 rail line linkage to High Speed 1 are not yet known, so the potential impacts on the borough are also not known, and yet a decision to proceed with this link has been taken by the Secretary without this information available,” said Cllr Hayward.

She fears that the only way to provide the link, without having a massive impact on the North London Line, will be by major work at Camden Town. The hearing continues.


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