HS2: Select Committee report highlights need for 'special treatment' for Camden

Camden Council has urged the Government and HS2 Ltd. to act on recommendations in the HS2 Select Committee’s final report and address the concerns of Camden residents and businesses facing decades of construction disruption from High Speed 2 (HS2).

The Select Committee’s final report was issued on Monday (22 February 2016) after the Committee of MPs sat for nearly two years hearing petitioners affected by HS2 plans. The report offered some new suggestions to mitigate the ‘exceptional’ impacts residents face in Camden.

The Committee also urge HS2 Ltd. to ‘consult conscientiously’ with residents and businesses. This recommendation comes as the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee this week scrutinised HS2 Ltd.’s previous communication and engagement with residents affected by HS2.

Councillor Sarah Hayward, Leader of Camden Council, said: “The Select Committee’s final report echoes what we’ve been saying for years - that the impacts of HS2 on Camden are exceptional and we need special treatment.

“We’re focused on holding HS2 Ltd. to account to ensure it delivers the assurances given to Camden and begins conscientious, two-way consultative engagement with residents and businesses, to ensure the impacts of construction are minimised and managed.

“The Government must act now on the report’s recommendations to meet the concerns of our residents facing decades of disruption from HS2. HS2 Ltd. should act on the recommendations to rehouse residents where assessments prove works have deteriorated air quality or residents’ health and to mitigate for the loss of recreational space on our estates.

“The Committee have recognised that the plans for Euston Station need to be coherent. We’re clear that a comprehensive approach to redesigning Euston Station is needed to achieve our vision of a world-class station, with affordable homes and new jobs around it, and to reduce disruption to Camden. We ask the Government to accelerate funding for the next stage of Network Rail’s work on the redesign of the current mainline Euston station, so that all parties can work to make this vision a reality.”

Camden specific mentions and recommendations in the report include:

  • Air quality monitoring should feed into an assessment of whether rehousing should occur in cases where air quality deteriorates.
  • An assessment of compliance with noise limits and a survey of health impacts should be carried out no more than six months after the start of the works, and HS2 Ltd. should reconsider rehousing based on the outcome of that survey.
  • A programme of works to compensate for loss of recreational space in areas like Ampthill estate, which could include club memberships and provision of access to recreational amenities.
  • Residents should be consulted on their preferences for how to moderate the impact of the construction programme. HS2 Ltd. should listen to what residents say about what might help, and respond with more than average diligence.
  • The choice of sound insulation and other mitigation measures should be in sympathy with construction and architecture of properties including Silsoe House on Park Village East, taking account of residents’ views on what is visually acceptable.
  • The Committee agree with Camden that Euston’s ultimate design needs a holistic approach and that the opportunity for such a redevelopment should not be wasted.
  • That neither a temporary nor permanent terminus at Old Oak Common is viable and that the alternative schemes Euston Express and Double Deck are also not viable.
  • That HS2 Ltd. have ruled out an alternative construction traffic route for lorries via Loudon Road to mitigate impacts of vent shaft construction on residents and businesses near to the Alexandra Road vent shaft, on the grounds that it is not practical and would not receive Transport for London (TfL) consent. The Committee suggest that HS2 Ltd. may need to look at more considerate working hours avoiding busy weekend and busy traffic periods.
  • There should be a footfall survey for Drummond Street and neighbouring restaurants and shops to establish usage patterns and to help address how to retain business.
  • A re-evaluation of the 34,800 rateable value cap for businesses in London to enable more Camden businesses to qualify for the Need to Sell Scheme.
  • Rejection of a Property Bond compensation scheme.

The Committee’s report backs the need for a 'holistic approach' at Euston to bring together other planned development in the area to produce a 'coherent station'. Camden Council has long campaigned for comprehensive redevelopment of Euston Station that integrates with other transport projects and enables its vision for affordable homes and new jobs around the station to be achieved, as set out in the Euston Area Plan. We’re asking for a funding commitment for Network Rail to deliver the next stage of their development work for the redesign and redevelopment of the existing mainline Euston station.

Read more about Camden Council's response to High Speed 2.