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Anger over ‘unfair evictions’ as HS2 forces families out before Christmas

Camden is facing nearly 20 years of demolition and disruption to make way for a high speed rail line to Birmingham

14 December, 2017 — By Tom Foot

Ordered to leave: Residents in Euston say they still have not had any compensation

PEOPLE were kicked out of their homes this week to make way for the High Speed 2 rail link, even though they are yet to receive any compensation.

Protests were staged in Euston Street, Euston, on Monday morning over “unfair evictions”. Among those forced to leave was Ijaz Chishty, who has lived in his home for 40 years and recently lost his family-run business, the nearby Cottage Hotel, to a HS2 compulsory purchase order (CPO). He said: “It is going to be eerie around here. We have been three generations of my family here. My children grew up here, went to school here, they played football in the park there. My father ran the business before me.”

Anti-HS2 campaigner Dorothea Hackman said: “Already Mr Chishty has lost his livelihood and without any compensation paid yet, and now his freehold home is taken two weeks before Christmas, along with those of his neighbours, putting his family on the street. The Bree Louise pub will go in January with more CPOs to follow on the Regent’s Park estate as well as around the Drummond Street area.”

Work on the £58billon HS2 railway from Euston to Birmingham, and later to cities in the north, is set to cause nearly two decades of demolition and disruption in Camden – one of the worst affected areas in the country. While the scheme has national support from the main political parties, it has been vehemently opposed in north London where people are being driven from their homes and businesses. Ms Hackman added: “Compensation should be paid to people whose homes are taken by Compulsory Purchase Order before they are evicted onto the street. There are warnings that without a penny in compensation from HS2 people will struggle for to find new housing or properties to rent businesses too.”

More than 160 homes are being obtained through compulsory purchase on the Regent’s Park estate ahead of demolition of three major council-owned blocks next year. HS2 chiefs stress they are acting lawfully and have not sought any evictions through the courts.

The Camden Civic Society, legal firm Hodge Jones & Allen and estate agents Savills are advising people whose homes are being seized with compulsory purchase orders. One of the four Camden households to be paid full compensation on a property from HS2 is the father of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Stanley Johnson, who lived in Park Village East.

A HS2 spokesman said: “HS2 has a responsibility to establish a price that is fair, both for homeowners and the taxpayer, accurately reflecting market value. That is why earlier this year, following an independent assessment carried out by a team of qualified chartered surveyors, we made an initial offer for 58-62 Euston Street. Since then we have been in negotiation with the owners and have offered to make an advanced payment while talks continue about the final price.”

The former Addison Lee car park site, near Granby Terrace, is being turned into a construction compound for the rail scheme. Four-storey cabins will be built on the site for the “foreseeable future”, according to HS2.

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