Revealed in full: The full devastation HS2 rail link will bring to Camden – and the ten years of demolition and disruption ahead

Thursday, 28th November 2013


Published: 28 November, 2013

THE full, shocking impact that the HS2 rail link project will have across Camden has been laid out in black and white by the government for the first time – leading to sheer dismay among residents and businesses alike.

Thousands of lorries will thunder into 15 major building sites across Camden every day to build the high-speed railway, which will link Euston to Birmingham and cities in the north, during a decade of major day and night-time works.

New details about the £50 billion scheme were revealed in a Parliamentary Bill and environment impact assessment – essentially a programme of works – published in the House of Commons on Monday.  

The word “demolition” is used 337 times in just over 400 pages of the Bill relating to Camden, which explain how and when the huge works will happen.

The 50,000-page document reveals how major works on the line, including the rebuilding of seven major bridges, will be carried out throughout the night to keep the daytime train services running. All other buildings works will start at 8am, six days a week. 

Hundreds of homes and businesses are being seized to make way for 15 major “construction compounds”. Up to 600 lorries and 2,100 workers will use two main compounds in the National Temperance Hospital site in Hampstead Road, Euston, and in Camley Street, Agar Grove, each day. 

The other HS2 building sites are next to Overground railway bridges where tracks are being widened to take two extra lanes and the heavier trains. They will be “lit during the hours of darkness”. 

The Bill says the massive increase in HGVs and “dust-generating activities” from the works will cause “significant noise” for tens of thousands of people over 10 years from 2016.

Calvin Stroud, owner of Camden Boxframe, a carpenters in Camden Town for more than 20 years that would be demolished under the proposals, said: “We’ve got two shops – 3,000 sq ft worth under the railway arches – and so they are going to have to knock both of the shops down. I have heard nothing about this, from HS2 or the council. To be honest, it sounds like so many lorries I think it will be a nightmare round here anyway. I’d like to try and keep some sort of footing in Camden though.”

In Euston alone, the Bill says 44 residential and commercial buildings – including tower blocks, restaurants, a hotel, pub and tenants’ hall – have been earmarked for demolition between 2016-2017.

There will be a “major adverse affect” on the Regent’s Park Estate, where 212 mainly social rented homes would  be demolished. Three housing blocks on the Regent’s Park Estate would be demolished over four years from 2016, the Bill says. Residents there will also suffer through two years of night-time works when Mornington Bridge and Hampstead Road bridge are rebuilt in 2017.

Park Village East – where Stanley Johnson, the father of Mayor Boris, lives – will “experience isolation”, the Bill says, when the road is blocked off for a year.

Cardington Street and Melton Street will be permanently closed and Maria Fidelis secondary school in Euston is expected to “decant” into a new site to be built across the road. But concerns are raised in the Bill for pupils’ health. Prayers in a mosque in Starcross Street will be disrupted “by daytime noise” for three years. The post-medieval St James Garden’s burial ground and chapel – also a public gardens – will be bulldozed and graves exhumed, pending archaeological reports.

Bizarrely, the Bill claims that the decade of works “is not assessed to have a significant amenity effect” on businesses in Drummond Street. The iconic curry house destination is being cut in two and sealed off to traffic. Traders – who are not getting any compensation – say their trade will be irreparably damaged. 

Camden Road will be closed for four months in 2017 and in 2020 while the bridge demolitions will begin 2017 and last for 14 months. 

Businesses named in the Bill include:

• The Camden Boxframe Company and the flats above it in 110 Camden Road, and the The Royal Cafe in 178a Royal College Street. 

• The Ivy House Dental Practice in 51 Kentish Town Road will be demolished, along with two residential homes, at 53 and 53a Kentish Town Road. 

• The former Primrose Hill station will be demolished, along with the Bikram Yoga Centre in 200 Regent’s Park Road at the Chalk Farm Bridge.

• In Agar Grove, garages at 120-136 Camley Street will be knocked down and the site used as one of two major compounds. 

• The Adecco employment agency in 160 Camden Street and bed and manufacturers Warren Evans, in 3a Prowse Place, Camden Town, will be “inaccessible for three years”.

• The garages in Baynes Street will be “inaccessible for 10 months” because of road closures as will the arches at 77 and 79 Randolph Street.

• The bridge Arches 1-7 in Kentish Town Road will be “inaccessible for up to three and a half years”.

• The Roj Café and Sandwich bar in Eversholt Street has a “high sensitivity” to the Royal Mail depot being demolished.

Fran Heron, who lives on the Ampthill Estate, said “confusing” letters had arrived outlining details of the Bill and how 80 homes there would be affected by the works.

She said: “There are lots of people very worried because the language is so unclear. I’ve been to the library but I couldn’t get hold of the Bill.”

Letters explaining the impact on hundreds of individual homes were sent out by recorded delivery on Tuesday.

HS2 Community Forum chairman Bob Latham, who lives in Mornington Crescent, said the cost of obtaining hard copies of all of the Bill’s documents was in excess of £14,000.

Mr Latham said: “I come from a generation where you want to see hard copies of documents. The response time is clearly unacceptable.”

The Bill says that the £300million development of Hawley Wharf will not be delayed, but a nine-storey block of 40 homes planned for the site cannot be built. A plan to open the new Hawley Primary School in Hawley will be severely disrupted by works to rebuild Kentish Town viaduct.

In Camden Market, 30-metre high scaffolding will be erected across the Lock Village Market with the arches made “inaccessible” for 14 months. 

In Juniper Crescent in Chalk Farm, a huge 70-metre ramp will be constructed for lorries to enter the railway lines behind Morrison’s supermarket. 

In the Bill, the Government says that just three trains per hour will pass through Camden Town on the new “link” line at “65kph” and that 90 full-time jobs will be “generated” by this link proposal.

Frank Dobson MP said: “I’ve had an answer back from a question I asked to the minister about tunnelling under Camden Town – it would cost £160m more than the current cost of building the link line, which is about £300m. That would save all this destruction and misery. We have to continue opposing it outright.”

Camden Council has earmarked £716,000 to pay for legal advice and staff costs to cope with HS2 next year. 

It has already budgeted for £617,000 for 2013/14, bringing the grand total to more than £1.3m. 

The council said it would respond to the Bill with a “petition” for a bigger development at Euston that would bring more benefits to residents in the long run. 


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