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22.08.16

May tells Camden Council leader she is ‘fully committed’ to HS2

Camden Council has accused the government of ignoring residents’ concerns about HS2 after both prime minister Theresa May and transport secretary Chris Grayling reaffirmed their commitment to the project.

Camden, which is the home of Euston station, has repeatedly raised concerns with HS2 Ltd and the DfT about the scheme’s impact on the area.

Despite securing over 100 assurances, it is petitioning the House of Lords, which is expected to pass the HS2 Bill soon, for more measures to reduce the project’s impact.

But in a letter to Cllr Sarah Hayward, the leader of Camden Council, May said: “I am fully committed to HS2. It is essential that our country continues to invest in infrastructure projects like HS2, which will provide vital capacity for rail passengers and our transport system.”

Grayling also wrote to Hayward, saying that the London Borough of Camden has already received “a significant number of assurances”, including the creation of the Euston Station Strategic Redevelopment Board to provide oversight of the project.

He added that HS2 Ltd “fully accepts that it has responsibility to ensure that it builds good relationships with communities”.

HS2 Ltd’s strategy for engaging with the communities affected by the rail line is under review by the DfT following sharp criticisms from the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee.

Hayward called May and Grayling’s responses “disappointing” and wrote to Grayling saying that she is still concerned that Euston “won’t be redeveloped in a coherent and integrated way” because the timetables for HS2, Crossrail 2 and existing redevelopment projects are not aligned with each other.

She invited Grayling and HS2 minister Andrew Jones to visit the site in order to see the need for a comprehensive plan.

In addition, Hayward said that HS2 still needs “cultural change” to ensure that it is “open, transparent and responsive to feedback”.

She added that the council is concerned that the existing Community Engagement Framework it has developed with HS2 does not deliver “genuine two-way engagement” with residents, especially those from vulnerable groups.

Hayward also recently criticised HS2 after the company behind it responded to residents’ concerns about a project to raise Hampstead Road Bridge by saying it would reduce the bridge’s proposed height by 0.5-1m.

(Image c. Hannah McKay from PA Wire/ Press Association Images)

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Comments

John Burns   25/08/2016 at 09:55

This is madness. There is no need to rip up Camden or rebuild Euston. The Birmingham Train can run on an uprated Chiltern Line via High Wycombe and into Paddington or Crossrail. Other cities like Liverpool can run into Crossrail and right up to Stratford via the West End and the City.

David   29/08/2016 at 12:18

John, about your Crossrail 'ideas', I sincerely hope you're being sarcastic.

John Burns   06/09/2016 at 23:09

@David, I am serious about Crossrail. Inter-city trains can run into Crossrail as the stations and platforms are big enough. . Do Londoners need another quick route into London for people in Essex and Reading to take their jobs?

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