Residents in Kensal Triange and Queen’s Park dealt a bitter blow over HS2 green light

Campaigners are against the scheme which will see rail link built under their homes

Campaigners living in Kensal Triangle and Queen’s Park have been dealt a bitter blow after the government backed plans to build a high speed rail link which will run directly underneath the area.

With trains travelling at speeds of 225mph, HS2 will link London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds at a cost to the taxpayer of nearly �33 billion.

It means a tunnel will be built under Kilburn, Queen’s Park and Kensal Rise, sparking fears it could damage properties and cause noise pollution.

Deepak Nambisan, HS2 spokesman for the Kensal Triangle Residents’ Association, said: “We are disappointed but not surprised by the decision and, in many ways, the battle starts here.


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“Although we are encouraged by the belated introduction of legally enforceable safeguards for those living above tunnelling on the HS2 route, this remains a hugely expensive mistake on the government’s part.

“This is a ministerial vanity project that this country would be ill able to afford in times of plenty.”

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Daniel Tasker, the spokesman from Stop the Tunnel North Westminster group, said: “The government has totally ignored the public consultation. It decided the outcome before it even started.

“No-one has given a single guarantee that people will not notice any difference to their lives once the trains are running.”

The line will run beneath Kensal Green Cemetery in Harrow Road, where legendary engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel is buried.

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

Concern

Last year Brent Council said it supported the plans but expressed concerns about the tunnel and the potential impact of the vent shaft.

A spokesman for the local authority said: “While we have reservations about more detailed aspects of the proposal we recognise that HS2 has the potential to bring benefits to Brent in the form of improved rail services by adding capacity to the network.

“We are keen that the plan for an interchange with Crossrail at Old Oak Common is accompanied by an improved connection to Harlesden that will kick start the regeneration of the Willesden Junction area, thereby leading to wider benefits.”

The network will be built in two phases with the line from London to Birmingham expected to open in 2026 followed by Manchester and Leeds opening in 2032-33.

Transport Secretary Justine Greening said: “A new high speed rail network will provide Britain with the additional train seats, connections and speed to stay ahead of the congestion challenge and help create jobs, growth and prosperity for the entire country.

“HS2 is our generation’s investment in Britain and in our children.”

What do you think? Email tara.brady@archant.co.uk

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