Do hedgehogs fly, High Speed 2?

Friday, 13th May

HS2 Vent shaft south view

A design intended as ‘sculptural’?

• READERS might like to know that until Tuesday night they can comment to Camden on the current planning application for HS2’s vent shaft and headhouse at the Nature Reserve on Adelaide Road.

To comment on Camden’s website, click the following link: https://planningrecords.camden.gov.uk/Northgate/PlanningExplorer/PLComments.aspx?pk=589231

The Planning Application documents and drawings can be found by clicking the following link:
http://camdocs.camden.gov.uk/HPRMWebDrawer/PlanRec?q=recContainer:%222022/1680/HS2%22

Your comments need to be restricted to whether or not the building design suits the local “context” (its surroundings) comprising nature reserve and Victorian villas.

This is because the HS2 Act gave permission for the engineering work and the removal of 500 trees, that is, almost the entire woodland. The trees are now gone and the work is underway.

Government guidance is that HS2 and Camden should have collaborated prior to the application so the design doesn’t damage the local context.

HS2’s application says that Camden supports the design whereas the council say they have serious concerns and are still awaiting information from HS2’s contractor.

HS2’s application also notes that serious concerns were expressed by the public last autumn when HS2’s contractor consulted the public… with over 400 responses, 94 per cent of which said the building design didn’t suit the context and most calling for the cladding to be replaced or screened via a green-walling system.

The application also seeks permission for a floodlit security fence around the building (but notes it’s omission from the application visualisations).

The HS2 Act however requires that HS2 create a wildlife corridor around the building from the adjacent nature reserve.

But an application sketch shows this “ecological connectivity” in mid-air because the building and fence almost completely block the site. Do hedgehogs fly?

Another page of the application shows the vent shaft to be one of a series of “neo-brutalist” vent shafts that promote HS2’s brand up the line.

But adverse public opinion via consultation in the Chilterns caused planning permission refusal forcing HS2 to redesign; lower with more green screening.

HS2 have said that they cannot make such design modifications in Camden.. and do not feel bound by last year’s consultation.

So the public should not hesitate to reassert their opinion via Camden’s consultation, commenting on the visual and ecological impact of the building.

The application says the design is intended as sculptural. But is it appropriate sculpture? Or should it be modified or screened via a green-walling system? And is the mid-air “ecological connectivity” a viable wildlife corridor?

JEFF TRAVERS
Euston Community Representatives Group

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