CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Now HS2 wants to close Eversholt Street for six months

Group objectors write an open letter to 'Sir Argy Bargie Lord Whoever it is running HS2'

07 March, 2019 — By Tom Foot

The group of disabled residents who regularly meet up at Pinner Cafe in Chalton Street, from left: Ann Stannard, John Kent, cafe manager Mick Duran, Stephen Denholm, Ken Jones and Michael Royce

HS2 rail managers have caused uproar after announcing Eversholt Street – the main road between Euston and Camden Town – could shut for six months.

A group of disabled residents, who meet at the Pinner Cafe in Chalton Street, say the move would leave them “imprisoned in Somers Town”. They say the 168 and 253 bus routes along Eversholt Street are crucial for supermarkets, doctors’ surgeries, schools and the Royal Free, and are calling for HS2 to fund a replacement shuttle bus to and from Camden Town.

Details of the road closure are yet to be finalised, but it is being ordered as work continues on the rail link from Euston to Birmingham, which has left Camden facing two decades of disruption and demolition, and already driven some people from their homes and businesses. The official budget for HS2’s first phase is £56.7billion but   whistleblowers  have warned the project is massively over budget.

Ken Jones, who lives in Polygon Road, said: “It is going to completely cut off thousands of people who live here from doing their shopping and Camden Town, which is really the social hub for the area. There are two shops in Somers Town, Nisa and Costcutter, but not proper supermarkets. We are going to be imprisoned in Somers Town.”

Mr Jones said the group would write an open letter to “Sir Argy Bargie Lord Whoever it is running HS2” and tell them to sort out a shuttle bus for Somers Town, adding: “What we want is some sort of transport that takes us up to Camden Town and back.” The group agreed it should be an electric bus to minimise pollution and it should run three times an hour.

Ann Stannard, who works in Regent High School, said she was worried about getting to the Royal Free: “The 168 takes you right up there – what are we supposed to do?”

HS2 Ltd officials met with the group – many of who have disabilities – in Somers Town last month about the planned closure between May and December.

Stephen Denholm said: “They said they hadn’t yet got the permission to do it but then – and this was very telling – the woman did a gesture with their hand as if it wouldn’t be a problem.”

The group went to see Keir Starmer, MP for Holborn and St Pancras, over the weekend about the problem. HS2 Ltd, a company funded by the government to set up the railway to Birmingham, says gas and water pipes, internet cables and phone lines to the west of the station, in Hampstead Road and Cardington Road, need to be moved to Eversholt Street. Camden Council has not yet formally approved the utility works.

The project is already behind schedule and over budget. Somers Town ward Labour councillor Roger Robinson said: “I have already sent a tough and demanding email to Camden Council demanding that HS2 is told urgently and in tough language that we cannot accept Eversholt Street closing up entirely.”

A HS2 spokesman said: “As part of the project, we are working closely with our contractors, the utility companies, Camden Council and Transport for London to plan a programme of essential utility diversions on Eversholt Street. We appreciate that this will have an impact on people living and working around the station and we are working to keep disruption to a minimum as we deliver these complex works as safely and efficiently as possible.”

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