HS2: Camden urges Government to pay for tenants' rehousing
Camden Council Leader Georgia Gould and MP for Holborn and St Pancras Keir Starmer have set out the moral and financial case for the Government and HS2 Ltd. to pay to rehouse Camden’s council tenants and leaseholders worst-affected by High Speed 2 (HS2) construction disruption.
In a letter to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, they outlined the grim conditions faced by residents living alongside construction in Euston, including shaking walls and homes ‘invaded by rats’.
Only 13% of the 798 Camden-owned homes that are eligible for mitigation measures agreed in Parliament have had the secondary glazing installed to date – meaning many residents are now enduring a second Covid-19 lockdown living amongst noise and dust.
The homes worst affected are Cartmel, Coniston and Langdale blocks on the Regent’s Park Estate and 40-68 Cobourg Street and 29-35 Starcross Street. HS2 Ltd.’s Noise Insulation Programme, which launched in 2017, should have delivered noise insulation including secondary glazing, mechanical ventilation and solar blinds to these 175 homes by the time the main works started.
The next phase of works, which involves highly disruptive piling and excavation, could make these homes virtually uninhabitable.
The Camden leaders are asking HS2 Ltd. and the Government to step forward and fund the rehousing of all tenants and leaseholders in Cartmel, Coniston and Langdale and 40-68 Cobourg Street and 29-35 Starcross Street. This proposal would still allow the HS2 programme to continue as planned, while officials from HS2 Ltd. and the Department for Transport have acknowledged that this proposal represents ‘excellent value for money’ and would be ‘cost-neutral to the HS2 programme in the long-term’.
HS2 Ltd have left our residents in an intolerable position - they are in lockdown with no protection against day after day of noisy and disruptive works that are set to run over Christmas and get worse with heavy piling work next year. Action is needed now.
“We are not prepared to wait any longer and will do the right thing for our council tenants. We’ll provide them with the option to move and will help them to do so by offering them 630 additional housing points that will give them the opportunity to bid for an alternative council home.
“But as we all know – we have 6,000 families on our waiting list which reflects huge demand for council homes and this means it’s going to be hard to be able to secure moves for many residents before the works intensify. It should not be vulnerable tenants in Camden paying the price for HS2 and Government’s dereliction of duty. HS2 Ltd. must fund the rehousing costs so no-one in Camden is left without a safe and secure home because of this project.
Keir Starmer, MP for Holborn and St Pancras, said: “For many of these residents in these properties, the dust, noise and other disturbances have made staying at home unbearable. That is why Georgia and I have written to the government to ask them to look again at the cost-effective rehousing plan that Camden Council have put forward.
“During the passage of the HS2 bill through parliament we warned the government that residents in these blocks would suffer and secured over 150 legally binding assurances about steps that HS2 would have to take to prevent intense disruption for local residents.
“As things stand, HS2 have not made sufficient progress on implementing these assurances and won’t be able to do so before the full start of noisy works.
“I hope that the Secretary of State and his colleagues will think again, do the right thing, and help Camden Council to protect their tenants and leaseholders by agreeing to this funding.”
Camden Council previously secured money from HS2 Ltd. to build 90 replacement homes for council tenants who were living in the Ainsdale, Eskdale and Silverdale blocks, which were demolished as part of HS2. A further 70 apartments in the Netley development on Stanhope Street are also being used as replacement homes for those residents.
Notes to editors:
The assurances Camden obtained in Parliament can be referenced on the Government website. See top spreadsheet that can be filtered by Assurance ID (U&A ID in Col A) – the relevant ones, copied below, are 1142-1149.
In line with the Draft Code of Construction Practice and Environmental Minimum Requirements , the Promotor has identified 1025 properties identified in Volume 2 of the SES2 and AP3 ES, section 14.3 which have been assessed as being significantly affected by HS2 construction noise and will therefore qualify for noise mitigation in accordance with HS2 policy. The Nominated Undertaker will develop a construction noise mitigation package for those affected properties identified in Volume 2 of the SES2 and AP3 ES, section 14.3, giving due consideration to ventilation, in consultation with the London Borough of Camden. The package of measures available will be agreed with the London Borough of Camden.
The process of consultation and pre-installation survey works should commence in Spring 2016 to enable installation of the noise insulation mitigation to those properties in line with the commitments referred to in 10.3 below.
Any ventilation to be installed by the Nominated Undertaker will be consistent with the specifications in the Noise Insulation Regulations, will be installed if agreed with the London Borough of Camden and the householder so that any additional requirements of relevant Building Regulations relating to the ventilation of dwellings are complied with in respect of the dwelling in question and will have regard to the obligations of landlords to maintain properties in ways which comply with the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) and be installed accordingly.
The Secretary of State will require the Nominated Undertaker to ensure, subject to securing the necessary access and consents, that those qualifying properties hove the appropriate mitigation installed before commencement of those 'HS2 Works' that trigger the need for noise insulation.
The Nominated Undertaker, in consultation with the London Borough of Camden, will commission a suitably qualified and experienced person to carry out an independent survey of an additional group of residential properties whether or not they have been identified in the ES as being subject to significant effect/likely to require noise insulation. The surveys will apply to a representative sample, as agreed by the Nominated Undertaker and LB Camden, of those properties in the following areas: (i) within the area bounded by Augustus Street, Robert Street, Hampstead Road and Granby Terrace, including any properties directly facing onto Robert Street and Augustus Street, but excluding the replacement housing being built by LB Camden (ii) within the Ampthill Estate, bounded by Eversholt Street to the north of Calgarth, Lidlington Place and Hampstead Road (iii) the Camden Cutting Area including Mornington Terrace and Delancey Street. The Promoter will use reasonable endeavours to complete the independent surveys to enable installation pursuant to
This survey is required due to the perception that these properties would be particularly vulnerable to increased noise due to the design and condition of the buildings. The survey will consider the likelihood of acoustic mitigation being required due to the anticipated effects of HS2, and in accordance with the HHSRS the acoustic and ventilation performance of existing windows and doors facing the works (or a highway carrying construction traffic) and the ventilation otherwise available in the properties in order to assess the risk of the build-up of excess heat or damp/mould through inadequate ventilation.
In the event that the independent survey identifies that due to the particular design and the current condition of the property, and the predicted effects of the Proposed Scheme, the occupiers are likely to experience significant detriment to their occupancy as a result of the HS2 works with regard to noise and insufficient ventilation, the nominated undertaker will seek to agree with the London Borough of Camden appropriate remedial measures having regard to the duties of LB Camden, including the HHSRS. These measures may include improved ventilation, without other elements of the noise insulation package. Any ventilation to be installed by the Nominated Undertaker will be consistent with the specifications in the Noise Insulation Regulations and will be installed if agreed with the London Borough of Camden and the householder so that any additional requirements of relevant Building Regulations relating to the ventilation of dwellings are complied with in respect of the dwelling in question.
The Secretary of State will require the Nominated Undertaker to use reasonable endeavours to ensure, subject to the necessary access and consents (and the construction timetable), that those qualifying properties have the appropriate mitigation installed before the commencement of those 'HS2 Works' that trigger the need for mitigation.
Where impacts change or in circumstances where a property has not been identified at this stage but can be demonstrated that there are similar circumstances as outlined above then an independent survey will be commissioned to assess the requirement for appropriate noise and/ or ventilation mitigation which will be installed if necessary.
All costs of the provision of noise insulation, making good, maintenance and running costs of mechanical ventilation units or any other electrical items provided under this paragraph 10 are to be borne by the Nominated Undertaker for the duration of the relevant HS2 works. The costs of removal of the noise mitigation and making good where requested or required (for example in relation to listed buildings) is to also to be borne by the Nominated Undertaker.