Tuesday, 31 March 2015

New station would see 216 homes demolished in north London borough

MP urges Camden to fight high-speed rail project

A former cabinet minister has pressed a London council to take action after the government unveiled plans this week to bulldoze hundreds of social homes to make way for a £33 billion rail project.

Frank Dobson, MP for Holborn and St Pancras, told Inside Housing that he wanted Camden Council to hammer away at the government’s plans to build the high speed two rail link between London and Birmingham, later extending to Manchester and Leeds.

At least 338 houses will be demolished - 216 in Camden - to make space for a new station in Euston.

Of the Camden homes, 182 are council-owned. A further 172 properties are at risk in the borough, according to council estimates.

Mr Dobson is lobbying for the new station to be built in Old Oak Common claiming it is better served with rail lines and would not displace so many people.

‘They [Camden Council] have to continue to pound away for the case for Old Oak Common and at the same time, as a fall back, ensure a series of guarantees for tenants,’ he said.

Mr Dobson said he had written to transport secretary Justine Greening to request that displaced tenants be guaranteed suitable permanent alternative accommodation in the borough with no change in tenancy. Mr Dobson also demanded that council tenants remain as such and that rent and service charges stay the same.

A Camden Council spokesperson said it would write to residents affected to let them know where to get advice. It said it hadn’t decided on any further course of action yet.

Stan Passmore, 85, has lived for 40 years on the Regent’s Park estate, swathes of which are in line for demolition, and is part of the campaign fighting the project. Mr Passmore said residents were depressed and frightened by the high speed two proposals.

Birmingham Council said it had not yet carried out an impact assessment to determine the effect on housing in the city, where scores of properties will also have to be demolished.

The Department for Transport has pledged to replace social housing demolished to make way for the project with 250 new social homes.

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