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Dramatic HS2 demolition in Euston but Chris Grayling holds back compensation scheme

Transport Secretary says there will be no money for people living nearby until the railway's construction begins

10 June, 2019 — By Tom Foot

IT’S nothing to see here, according to the government.

High Speed 2 Limited, which is working on the controversial HS2 new rail link to Birmingham, has released new images showing its demolition of Euston this week.

But despite the striking nature of the photographs detailing how the landscape is changing forever, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling insists not enough work has begun to trigger compensation packages for Camden residents.

He told the House of Commons, in a response to a question from Holborn and St Pancras MP Sir Keir Starmer, that settlements to people whose lives have been turned upside down have not yet been finalised because HS2 has not started building the actual railway yet.

The former BHS warehouse near Euston has been demolished

Mr Starmer said: “It is nonsense to suggest that major permanent construction works have not started. Since January 2017, the Euston area has been a major building site. Roads have been closed permanently, buildings have been demolished. The works have disturbed the sleep of residents, there is extensive dust pollution and temporary road closures.”

A Lords’ select committee last year recommended that a compensation scheme – including packages of around £10,000 to tenants living near the Euston building site – should be brought forward for Camden residents whose neighbourhood has been demolished since February 2017.

The National Temperance Hospital and St James’s Gardens have already been bulldozed to make way for HS2 construction site and graves exhumation.

How the new Euston Station could look

Photos released this week show the former BHS Warehouse has now been knocked down.

Businesses and homes have been compulsory purchased with replacement blocks built on former green space on the Regent’s Park Estate.

HS2 says it has been working on demolitions, utility works and archaeology under “enabling” legislation passed by MPs in the House of Commons.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling

In a response to a parliamentary question from Mr Starmer, Mr Grayling said: “The launch of the [compensation] scheme is tied into the start of permanent construction works, which will trigger the requirements for the scheme.”

Of the BHS demolition, HS2’s programme director Matthew Botelle said: “HS2 will transform Euston, delivering much needed extra capacity, improving journeys and unlocking the opportunity for thousands of new jobs and homes.”

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