CamdenNewJournal

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Bungling HS2 officials tell the wrong residents their homes may be demolished

'Imagine the distress caused by finding such a letter on your doormat, completely out of the blue'

28 November, 2016 — By Tom Foot

HS2 will cost a minimum of £56 billion

BUNGLING officials working on the controversial High Speed 2 rail link delivered demolition warning letters to the wrong housing block, telling residents their homes would be bulldozed even though there are no plans to knock them down.

Residents in Coniston, on Regent’s Park estate, received compulsory purchase order letters on Thursday from Andrew Lythgoe, HS2’s “property acquisitions lead”.

The court-style legal notice said: “Your property is required for construction of HS2… starting in 2017… we understand this may be a distressing time for you.”

HS2 has been vehemently opposed in Camden, where two decades of demolition and disruption lie ahead.

Ursula Brown, who lives on the Regent’s Park estate, said: “Apparently, even at this stage, HS2 staff did not know the names of the blocks they plan to demolish or the number of families they would make homeless, and they did not take the trouble to check before sending out the letters.”

She added: “Imagine the distress caused by finding such a letter on your doormat, completely out of the blue. Even more so for those who are old and vulnerable.”

Since 2013, Silverdale, Eskdale and Ainsdale blocks on the estate have been earmarked for demolition.

Coniston – a stone’s throw from Silverdale – is not in the path of the proposed new railway, and has never been threatened with demolition. However, residents will be severely affected by 17 years of works around Euston.

An HS2 spokesman said: “We deeply regret the confusion and distress this letter, sent in error, has caused. We have hand-delivered letters of correction and apology to the people in all 12 affected properties. We are reviewing our processes to prevent this happening again.”

The House of Lords is still considering evidence from petitioners, but HS2 expects to achieve Royal Assent in the next couple of months.

HS2 Euston Area Action Group is holding a public meeting about the “next steps” at Netley Primary School, in Regent’s Park, from 7.30pm on Wednesday.

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