The Independent London Newspaper
25th March 2017

Campaigners fear Town Hall U-turn on HS2 opposition

    Cllr Sarah Hayward

    Cllr Sarah Hayward, leader of Camden Council: 'There has been no change in the council’s position on HS2'

    Published: 30 October, 2014
    by TOM FOOT

    AN alliance of Camden’s most influential anti-HS2 campaigners have warned that the Town Hall appears to have dropped its outright opposition to the £50billion project by working on a plan for Euston.

    An updated “Euston Area Plan”, a document published by Camden Council, says the demolition of the current station is a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to create a “substantial new piece of city”.. The redevelopment plans are part of the government’s controversial high-speed rail plans which will mean years of demolition and disruption in Camden.

    The new documents say Mayor of London Boris Johnson could realise his latest dream of building a “Med City” – a cluster of major medical and pharmaceutical research companies – in a zone that would be redeveloped for the arrival of HS2.

    The “strategic board” behind the plan is council leader Sarah Hayward, HS2 Ltd top bosses Sir David Higgins and Doug Oakervee, and Boris Johnson’s deputy Mayor at City Hall, Sir Eddie Lister. Cllr Hayward’s role in that group has led anti-HS2 campaigners to ask this week: “Is Camden repositioning itself?”

    That question was asked in a joint letter from all of the anti-HS2 groups that have formed in Camden while the debate over the scheme has raged.

    The signatories include:

    • Jackson Toms-Limb, from the Camden Cutting Group

    • Stanley Johnson, Boris Johnson’s father, who represents the Park Village East Conservation Society

    • Peter Jones and Timothy Stockton from the Pan Camden Anti HS2 Alliance

    • Fran Heron from Ampthill Estate

    • Robert Latham from the Euston Action Group

    • Mohammed Salique, secretary of Drummond Street Traders Association

    • Sue Sommers from Drummond Street Tenants and Residents Association

    • Dorothea Hackman from Netley School

    • Luisa Auletta from Camden Town Conservation Area Advisory Committee and the Reverend Anne Stevens from Old St Pancras Church.

    The letter, which can be read in full here, added: “What proposals for bringing HS2 into Euston would Camden support? This is the question that Camden Council must now answer.”

    Cllr Hayward – who has vehemently opposed HS2 over the past two years – said the concerns were misplaced, adding that it “would be a dereliction of duty if Camden Council didn’t continue to fight to get the best deal out of HS2” in Euston.

    She said: “We’ll achieve that more easily if we work together to fight against HS2.”

    Eyebrows were raised earlier this month when, in its submissions to the House of Lords investigation into the economic case for the £50billion project, Camden Council did not call for the rail link to end in Old Oak Common, west London, rather than Euston.

    But Cllr Hayward dismissed concerns that the council was no longer campaigning against HS2 terminating in Camden. She said she was now arguing for the HS2 Bill to be amended to allow a temporary terminus to be built in Old Oak Common until more detailed plans for Euston are decided. 

    The New Journal has, however, seen concerned emails from inside the Town Hall about Camden being seen publicly as working with HS2, or losing control over the development at Euston to central government.

    HS2 Ltd officials have also told the New Journal that Sir David Higgins has instructed his staff to end the hostilities with Camden so that they can work together.

    The Euston Area Plan, published under the banner, “A New Piece of City”, said: “The redevelopment of Euston Station provides a once in a generation opportunity to create a substantial new piece of city in central London.”

    But Cllr Hayward said: “There has been no change in the council’s position on HS2. 

    “Readers can see this for themselves on our website, which is comprehensive and transparent, about our work on HS2.” 

    Comments

    You could not terminate HS2

    You could not terminate HS2 at Old Oak Common, since 18 trains per hour will arrive, and people need to be distributed in central London.

    25% of passengers may change to Crossrail at OOC, and 10% to London Overground. But that levaes an awful lot of people, and it will already be chaos, if CRossrail is disrupted.

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