Following months of campaigning from Camden Town Unlimited, the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced today that having reviewed the evidence, he has taken the decision to remove the stretch of track linking the HS2 and HS1 lines from the High Speed Rail Bill. Camden residents and businesses will breathe a sigh of relief that the Government has now been persuaded to drop the link in its current form, which was set to tear through the heart of Camden Town, causing a decade of disruption and destroying parts of our markets and creative economy. As part of our campaign to stop the link's devastating impact on Camden, CTU commissioned two in-depth reports into the disruption caused by the proposed link. They showed the impact that the link would have on Camden's world-famous markets and creative economy - costing up to 9,000 jobs and £631m to the local economy, and the disruption and blight that ten years of construction would have on Camden Town. Clearly the Government has been paying attention to our concerns, and we're thrilled at today's announcement from the Transport Secretary.
Throughout this campaign we've made it clear that we're not being Nimbys. We've been pragmatic in our approach to the HS2 project and the opportunities it offers - like regenerating the Euston area, and we've been working hard not to totally scrap the link with HS2 and the Channel Tunnel, but to make sure that the damage to Camden is minimised by tunnelling the link instead of ripping through Camden's heartland. It's clear that this practical approach has worked, and the Government will now take the time to consider how to link the midland and northern cities to Europe in a way that works better for everyone - from HS2 passenger to Camden residents.
What is important now, and what we will continue to petition Government on, is that the uncertainty that has been blighting businesses in Camden is removed as soon as possible. The safeguarding of this section of the route has meant that businesses in Camden have been reluctant to invest or hire skilled staff. The removal of this threat will open up new opportunities for our creative economy which provides thousands of jobs in Camden. We will continue to meet with MPs from all parties; businesses from up and down the country; transport officials and freight operators to ensure that any new proposals regarding links from the North to Europe have the best possible outcome for Camden. We'll also be talking to HS2 and MPs about redeveloping Euston and making a real difference to the area. We know that this is a project that will last for many different Governments, so while we'll be celebrating this victory, we're focussing now on preserving Camden for the long term, and making sure that we get the best possible deal for residents and businesses in Camden.