HS2 – What about families, Mr Cameron? Labour councillor Adam Harrison confronts PM on train

Thursday, 12th April 2012

Pictured: HS2 train

Published: 12 April 2012

DAVID Cameron was put on the spot as he headed home from an Easter weekend break with his family when a Camden councillor demanded the Prime Minister give guarantees to households who could be booted out of their flats to make way for HS2.

Bloomsbury ward Labour councillor Adam Harrison was on his way home from a long weekend in Chester when he noticed police officers taking up positions at either end of the train carriage he was in – and when he asked why, was astonished to discover Mr Cameron and his family had been away in North Wales for a few days and were returning to Euston on the same train.

The councillor told the New Journal he didn’t want to miss the opportunity of lobbying the PM on behalf of those in the borough who look set to lose their homes if the high-speed rail link from Euston to Birmingham goes ahead.

Cllr Harrison said: “He had his big red box out in front of him and was settling down to do some work, so I thought I’d seize the opportunity to speak to him.”

He scribbled a note to Mr Cameron pointing out the devastating effects the route would have on people living on the Regent’s Park estate, where the route will go.

He said: “I told him about the 500 families looking at an uncertain future and asked him if he could give guarantees that they would be able to stay in the area. He said there would be ample financial compensation available for those who will lose their homes.”

Now Cllr Harrison has written to Downing Street to ask Mr Cameron to make good his verbal pledge.

His letter reads: “When we met, and in the note I left with you, I emphasised the need to provide much greater certainty for the 500 families currently set to lose their homes in west Euston.
“You said to me that there would be financial compensation made available, but it does not strike me as unreasonable that those who will be made to make way for HS2 should be allowed the option to remain in the area should they choose. In fact, it rather strikes me as the least that should be done.”

He added in his letter to the Prime Minister that the ­government could solve the problem quickly and painlessly by handing cash over to the Town Hall to turn the semi-derelict National Temperance Hospital opposite the Regent’s Park estate into new council homes.

Cllr Harrison is yet to receive a response.


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