The Independent London Newspaper
22nd February 2017

NEW JOURNAL COMMENT: More homes on the line in this shoddy HS2 project

    HS2

    Published: 22 September, 2016

    ARE the lives of dozens more Camden families about to be turned upside down by the latest twist in the HS2 saga? 

    Tenants and leaseholders in 67 homes in Cartmel have been told that their block may too be demolished to make way for the proposed new railway line into Euston (Warning HS2 plans in Camden will claim more council homes than first thought).

    The council has so far not condemned the possibility and would presumably like to square another regeneration deal in which HS2 funds a block of modern replacement homes.

    New homes for tenants in Silverdale, Eskdale and Ainsdale, which are due to be demolished next year, are already being squeezed into open and green spaces on the already densely-populated Regent’s Park estate. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, it is no wonder that Cartmel tenants may be envious of those new homes.

    The block’s few leaseholders, whose compensation packages will not be enough to buy locally on the private market, will be forced to buy on the outskirts of London, or beyond.

    And where will the Cartmel replacement homes be built? The council has pretty well used up every inch of free space on the estate already. Can it find space for another 50 new-build flats? And what of the replacement homes themselves? If Cartmel, as seem likely, is deemed uninhabitable by the new HS2 design work, then what of the 11-storey tower block the council is building right next to it? Will they not be similarly affected? 

    Whatever the outcome, this late-in-the-day development is the latest twist in a shoddy, bureaucratic, mismanaged and hugely expensive project that should never have seen the light of day. The national media is, finally, collectively rising up against HS2. With the chief executive’s resignation, perhaps, they sense weakness and are sniffing out a kill.

    Best laid plans

    ALL the signs indicate that the Town Hall is indulging in a form of piecemeal planning in Camden Town.

    Nothing reflects this more than the idea that a single lane of traffic be introduced along Pratt Street to Delancey Street (east to west), sandwiched in between cycle lanes. These streets are already heavily used by traffic and if vehicles had to navigate along a single lane they would back up to Bayham Street and down to Camden Road.

    The widening of the pavement in Parkway has also lead to blockages leading back to Albany Street at times. Surely no measurable gain in traffic flow or pedestrian safety and comfort has come from the changes in Mornington Crescent.

    In the future let central London be pedestrianised.

    In the meantime, let us have more thought-through planning.