Saturday, 29 April 2017

Councils to fight high speed rail link in court

The date for a judicial review against the government’s plans for a £33 billion high speed rail line that would see hundreds of social homes destroyed has been set.

Five judicial reviews will be heard together over an eight day period from 3 December 2012, including one launched by a group of 15 councils called 51m which are opposed to the HS2 line.

Eighty per cent of the homes that will be lost along the route belong to Camden Council to make way for the route’s terminal.

The council is a member the 51m group – so called because that is how much HS2 would cost every parliamentary constituency – and will actively take part in the judicial review, giving evidence to try and save its 500 homes that would be affected.

Councillor Sarah Hayward, leader of Camden Council, said: ‘We welcome this news. It enables us to highlight the impact of this fundamentally flawed scheme, through the legal system.

‘We remain strongly opposed to HS2 and have been disappointed by government not listening to our concerns. This scheme will bring a damning blight to Camden that could last for decades, and the council will fight for every home and business, brick by brick.’

The council say business in the area would also be affected, as well as a grade II listed estate and the burial ground St James Gardens where 60 per cent of the human remains would have to be exhumed.

The councils are challenging the consultation process for HS2, which is initially planned to link London to Birmingham but could be extended to Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Richard Houghton, a spokesperson for campaigning group against the rail link HS2 Action Alliance, which has lodged two of the five judicial reviews, said a lot of the councils along the route would lose homes. 

Director of the group, Hilary Wharf, said: ‘The hearing in December 2012 will provide communities from Euston to Staffordshire with the opportunity so many having been waiting so long for – to show the court why we think the decision to proceed with HS2 was unlawful.’

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