HS2 Ltd wants to plough through the centre of Camden, taking over the bridges and shutting down businesses for years to create a link with the old high speed railway to Europe. On paper, building this line means road closures, bridge widening, transport disruptions. In practice, it could mean the end of Camden as we know it.
This particular Bill is something of a behemoth... with a colossal 50,000 page environmental impact assessment to accompany it. Within those 50,000 pages lies the future of Camden Town. Every single road closure, bridge widening and business affected is supposed to be taken into consideration within the report. It's why it's so big. However, we don't think they've taken the impact on Camden seriously enough.
HS2 needs to link up to our existing high speed rail line that takes us to France. The current proposal for this would mean a link that cuts directly through the heart of Camden Town... 90% of Camden Lock market falls within 30 meters of site, as does 95% of Stables market. Hawley market would effectively be closed, with other iconic markets devastated by the project.
Camden Town markets are one of London and the UK's most popular tourist destinations, visited by over 100,000 tourists each weekend. Restaurants, bars and entertainment venues contribute to a multi-million pound night-time economy. The area has grown so much that the main tube station is struggling to cope.
If people don't go to these venues then they will be unsustainable in the long run. If smaller venues go then it will make it almost impossible for budding musicians to get their first gig. What will happen then? Will we be left with a situation where acts have to audition for talent shows to get their break? It's a depressing thought.
As The Beatles' 'Tomorrow Never Knows' fades out over the PA, the feedback groan of Barrie Cadogan's Gibson splits the air, a white umbilical guitar lead coiling obscenely into the amp. Five minutes into the gig and the band has put a grip on a crowd who twist with delight in the dark womb of the club.