HS2: Council prepares for Royal Assent of HS2 Bill with replacement homes
Camden councillors and residents today (Tuesday, 31 January 2017) marked the ‘topping out’ of a block being built to replace homes that will be lost to High Speed 2 (HS2), ahead of the expected Royal Assent of the HS2 Bill next month.
Councillor Hayward placed the last section of concrete at the top of Mardale, one of six blocks being built on the Regent’s Park Estate to provide 90 replacement homes for council tenants and resident leaseholders whose homes in the Euston area are earmarked for demolition by HS2 Ltd.
She was assisted by residents Jeanette Westley, Theo Constantinou, Mohammed Abdullah and Sana Begum – all of whom will lose their homes to HS2 but who will move into the replacement homes built by Camden Council.
“We’ve always been opposed to HS2 and its plans to demolish over 200 homes in Camden, but through hard negotiation we’ve secured the money from HS2 Ltd to build these replacement homes which will mean our residents can continue to live in their local community.
“With the help of residents and businesses, we’ve also secured over 100 assurances from HS2 Ltd on key issues like noise insulation and open space that will mitigate the worst effects of years of construction disruption. We’ve successfully pushed for the scrapping of an HS1-HS2 link that would have cut through the heart of Camden Town, and, after years of Camden calling for a fair deal, HS2 Ltd have finally agreed to pay financial compensation to our residents living alongside construction.
“Our focus now is on finishing the replacement homes and holding HS2 Ltd to account to deliver on commitments on compensation, and push for a better Euston Station.”
The Council secured funding from HS2 Ltd for the homes, which are being built by Camden in partnership with Lovell ahead of the HS2 Bill receiving Royal Assent. This will give HS2 permission to build the railway scheme.
Residents are due to move into their homes in summer and autumn 2017, ahead of demolition of their current homes. We understand from HS2 Ltd that this will take place in early 2018.
Jeanette Westley, who lives in one of the council blocks set to be demolished by HS2 Ltd, said it was "great" that the replacement homes were being built: “My daughter goes to school round here, she’s got friends round here, we’re not going to have up sticks and have extra travel costs to get her to school – and we will still be in our same little community.”
The Council secured over 100 assurances as part of the parliamentary process, including limits on construction vehicle emissions, noise insulation for homes that will be significantly affected, like-for-like replacement of open space, funding for support workers for vulnerable people and a Camden-wide community fund, support for businesses and schools, and a commitment from HS2 Ltd that it will improve community engagement.
Earlier this month the Government committed to giving fairer compensation to residents who will be significantly impacted by HS2, and the Council is urging the Government to provide more details on its proposed compensation scheme as soon as possible.
The Council will continue to hold HS2 Ltd to account on their commitments and push HS2 Ltd to minimise the impact of the railway scheme on Camden’s residents.
Close up: a look at the replacement homes project in detail
A new community hall, shops, a public square and a play area form part of the replacement housing developments, which will include homes built to the latest housing design standards.
The Council is also building 11 much-needed additional new council homes, five shared ownership homes and 10 private homes as part of this project.
A further 70 apartments in the Netley development on Stanhope Street will be used as replacement homes. The Council consulted residents on the design and names of the new housing blocks. The new homes are being built on the Regent’s Park Estate because over two thirds of residents told the Council that they wanted to stay within 10 minutes’ walk of their current homes on the estate, Cobourg Street and Melton Street.
The Netley development is part of the Council’s Community Investment Programme (CIP), although HS2 Ltd bought the private homes Stanhope and Winchester apartments within the development to use as replacement housing for the demolished blocks. The CIP aims to build over 3,000 homes, invest £117 million in schools and children’s centres, and build and refurbish 9,000 square metres of improved community facilities and space across Camden. The additional homes are being built as part of the CIP programme.