Cynical HS2 Community Forums

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”.

7 comments to “Cynical HS2 Community Forums”
  1. What is becoming clearer as time goes on, is that the whole process behing the HS2 project is undemocratic and underhand and the legality of what is going on must be questioned with full force. There is a massive amount of money to be made by certain parties and it is this rather than any false business, environmental or transport argument that is bulldozing this along. I cannot understand how the dubious tactics of HS2 and the political cronies behind this project are not severely lampooned by the media. There have been several Panorama programs delaing with the ineptitude of some Government projects, the Apprenticeship scheme was the latest. Surely the time has come to expose HS2 for what it is? Rotten to the core.

  2. When will people in Camden stop complaining, Yes housing will be demolished that is a fact and sorry to say it cant be helped. Hs2 is not a vanity project but a Very necessary infrastructure project. I too agree that the affect on Camden is minimal, yes the whole redevelopment of Euston will be the size of 17 Emirates stadiums but this is the whole site, take out the existing site, together with the disused post office shed, then the redevelopment is minimal. The major developemtn at camdon will be the tunnels.

    • I find your comments astonishing…try telling someone who is about to lose their home that the impact is minimal. Would you still support this VANITY PROJECT if you or your familty had to have their home demolished?

      • I agree. However this is where the government wins because a majority of people did not use the “consultation” procedure as they could not care less as long as it was not in their back yard. There are those that breathed a huge sigh of relief that it was not their problem of which a small minority are now totally behind the need for HS2 under the many fleeting suggestions put forward as to why the country needs it… long as it is not in their back yard! Funny that, I seem to recall the rather less than excellent Philip Hammond calling a majority of anti-HS2 supporters the same thing! Indeed he went further by suggesting that if the proposed route were in the M1 corridor then nobody would complain. I think that some people would have done regardless but he is probably right that there would have been fewer objections for him and his successor to ignore as the M1 corridor is already a noisy, messy eyesore and so HS2 would fit in a treat.

        There are one or two other “contributors” who are revelling in the discomfort of people who are liable to suffer from the various degrees of HS2 implementation whilst going on about the economic benefits that will be realised. I also wonder if they would be as aggressive if they were living in the HS2 corridor. Somehow I doubt it.

  3. Surely if the environmental impact assessment leads to changes in the route these forums will be yet another huge waste of time and money as mitigation will have to be re-addressed

  4. Well, well, well it would seem that the government may not be good at handling a non existent fuel crisis (but good at creating panic over it) or ensuring that they or any government controlled bodies abide by their own rules, but they appear to be very good at ensuring that HS2 will go ahead at any cost and regardless of any opposition (however good or bad the case against HS2 may be).
    So now HS2 want to try and get away with another tick box exercise and have closed door consultations with their “friends”. It would be funny if it were not so pathetic….one sad lie after another is being exposed.
    I am surprised by the way that the recent report criticising HS1 did not have all the pro HS2 people clamouring about it being further smoke and mirrors and that HS1 was a brilliant project that came in on time, under budget and the loading forecasts were spot on in the same way that HS2 has all the answers!

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