Letter from Peter Jones, published in Camden New Journal: reproduced with permission.
Anyone from the Camden community not issued with one of the scarce invitations from HS2, but who attended the community forum anyway, may have encountered men on the door to stop people not on the list, from being allowed in.
Also the press were not invited or welcome.
Those challenged at the door included a tenant of one of the blocks due for demolition.
They would also have been able to witness first-hand a most cynical attempt by HS2 Ltd to pursue their own agenda and tick-boxes which would enable them to say that they “consulted with the community” on mitigation.
They would have been aware that the “independent” chairperson was not independent at all.
There was no one from HS2 actually taking anything other than occasional ad hoc notes.
Fortunately a Camden officer was present and full minutes will be available.
Perhaps most interesting was the spectacle of Alison Munro, HS2 Ltd chief executive, struggling to avoid or evade a motion from the floor requiring that future meetings should be open to observers and members of the press.
She was embarrassed into acquiescence and the motion was passed.
Most shockingly, HS2 revealed that of the initial £17billion for the first leg of the project, only £250million had been allocated for mitigation and £960million for compensation along the whole London to Birmingham route.
So it will be clear that the meeting in a local hall on Regent’s Park estate was of some, if not national, importance.
It was a demonstration of how public funds are being used by a company wholly owned by the Department for Transport to promote a scheme which strikes at the heart of Camden.
It is a scheme that has nearly £1 billion set aside to bring it into existence before a single shovel is put to the ground and to pursue an agenda driven by assertion in the face of fact and public opinion.
Having said the effect on Euston was “minimal” the HS2 chief engineer now boasts that the land-take at Euston will be as big as 17 Emirates stadiums with work over 10 years or more.
And transport secretary Justine Greening confirmed that HS2 into Euston is “set in stone”.