Kensal Green residents hit out at HS2 consultation

Backlash against the high speed rail route begins

Concerned residents have attacked transport bosses for their ‘very poor’ consultation on a new �17billion high-speed railway (HS2).

Home owners in Kensal Green say they are worried that building works on the London to Birmingham line, which will run under Kilburn, Queen’s Park and Kensal Green, will damage properties.

The attack came as HS2 chiefs launched a publicity drive to win popular support for the new route at an all-day roadshow in Queen’s park.

Deepak Nambisan, chair of the newly formed Kensal HS2 Forum, set up to gather residents’ views on the rail link, said: “The communication from the Government and HS2 at the beginning of this process was very poor.

“The first many of us heard about the railway was when the subsidence equivalent of ambulance chasers pushed their publicity letters through our letterboxes.

“There are a lot of statements about the tunnelling and its construction not affecting residents but when you try to scratch beneath the surface of those statements there doesn’t seem to be any independent verification.

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“They say we won’t hear anything. But the basis of their statement is their experience of HS1. Uncertainty is the problem.”

The Times revealed in January that the proposed railway will run beneath Kensal Green cemetery, where the legendary engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel is buried.

A new station will be built at old Oak Common and a large two-storey ventilation shaft will be constructed beside Queen’s Park Station in Salusbury Road, Queen’s Park.

Kensal Rise residents applied to HS2 to be included in the Exceptional Hardship Guarantee, a voluntary purchase scheme for home owners adversely affected by the railway.

But their application was rejected because transport chiefs insist their homes will not be affected by noise or vibrations from building work.

Alison Munro, HS2 chief executive, said the railway will bring thousands of jobs, kick start regeneration, and ease railway overcrowding.

She said: “The tunnels [in Brent] are very deep so residents won’t feel the trains underneath. There won’t be any impact on the cemetery and we don’t expect there to be any subsidence, but we will survey properties before and after the construction.”