HS2: The Impact on Kilburn

1 Mar

Guest blog by Janet Grauberg, Cotleigh Road resident and Kilburn Lib Dem campaignerOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There is a huge debate – both nationally and here in Camden – about the merits or otherwise of building the High Speed 2 rail line. But there has not been much focus on the implications for Kilburn, so I have been shining a light on this by submitting a Kilburn Lib Dem response (attached below) to the HS2 Environmental Statement consultation.

By way of background, it’s proposed that HS2 would come through the south of Kilburn ward, just south of the existing London to Birmingham line that runs between South Hampstead station and Kilburn High Road station. The route is in a deep underground tunnel throughout Kilburn, but just opposite South Hampstead station an “Intervention and Ventilation Shaft” will be constructed, to provide air pressure relief from the tunnel, and allow access into the tunnel in case of emergency.

The main effects on the Kilburn area appear to be:

–        the impact across much of the south of the ward (Belsize Road, Abbey Road, Kilburn Priory) of works needed to move utilities (water, sewers, gas, electricity etc) which cross the tunnel route. We know the impact on bus and car traffic when the roads are dug up for this – so we can look forward to lots more congestion and disruption between 2016 and 2019. It will be even worse if Camden Council’s much delayed Abbey Area development on the corner of Abbey Road and Belsize Road is still under construction at the same time (as scheduled).

–        the impact of traffic and pedestrian diversions during the building of the vent shaft on Loudoun Road. This involves the demolition of the small terrace of shops and businesses (61-83 Loudoun Road and 1-8 Langtry Walk) including a fish shop and a launderette and the construction of a deep shaft and of a securely fenced “headhouse” 10m high. The construction period is forecast to last 5 years (2019 – 2023), and during the peak time up to 100 HGV lorries per day are expected along Boundary Road, Loudoun Road and Alexandra Place. The pedestrian access from Loudoun Road to the Alexandra & Ainsworth estate will be shut.

–        The impact of tunneling under the Alexandra & Ainsworth estate. The unique concrete construction of the estate means that it is especially sensitive to movement, and so there are fears that the tunneling process will affect the foundations and walls. Lib Dem Councillor Keith Moffitt has asked Camden Council (the landlords) to undertake a structural engineering survey, but this hasn’t made any progress yet.

–        The impact on Kilburn of bus and traffic of HS2 construction work elsewhere in Camden – for example Adelaide Road is due to be shut for four months between Primrose Hill Road and Chalk Farm Road, which will cause traffic chaos along Haverstock Hill and England’s Lane, disrupting the C11 and 31 bus routes.

–        The permanent look of the vent shaft “head house”. As you can see from the picture, it isn’t a thing of beauty. Although HS2 say that detailed design will be agreed with the local authority through the planning process, actually it’s quite tightly specified how it has to be constructed in order to function properly as a ventilation system.HS2 shaft

Obviously, the impact of HS2 varies a lot place by place. If you are one of the 700 or so Kilburn residents who have received a “Schedule A” letter, saying that HS2 is taking legal powers to compulsorily purchase your property, or gain access to the soil underneath it, it’s quite a big deal and a source of anxiety. If you live up near West Hampstead station, it will be more months of traffic disruption caused by building works and digging up the roads.

The sad thing is that Camden Council, despite the significant impacts on quite a lot of Kilburn residents, really haven’t paid any attention to this area. The draft of what they intend to put formally to Parliament during the “Petitioning process”, which is the next formal stage of consultation, doesn’t mention anywhere north of Chalk Farm. A group of residents from Kilburn and South Hampstead did a “Deputation” to a full meeting of Camden Council in January, but as far as we know, Camden hasn’t made any changes. I think its disappointing that the Council, which is supposed to represent all of us, is so focused on the south of the Borough.

If you’d like to know more, get in touch with me on j.grauberg@googlemail.com. Or you can attend a public meeting that Camden Council is arranging on Tuesday 18th March at Kingsgate Community Centre, 107 Kingsgate Rd, London NW6 2JH from 7pm to 9pm. Come along and tell the Council they should listen to Kilburn too!

Janet Grauberg

HS2 Response


2 Responses to “HS2: The Impact on Kilburn”

  1. Martin Hayman March 20, 2015 at 6:16 pm #

    This is an impressively thorough and detailed response, not merely an overview. It’s clear that the potential for disruption will be huge, especially if the Abbey Area redevelopment runs late.


  1. West Hampstead Life | What have I missed since February 24th? - March 3, 2014

    […] about the impact of HS2? The Kilburn Lib Dems have written a good overview and there’s a public meeting on March […]

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