HS2 train line: a family conundrum

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Stop the HS2 Signs - Wendover
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Since Nick Clegg’s announcement of the planned £33 billion HS2 express train line from London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, concerned citizens have been going through the roof.

The luxury high-speed rail line, built to facilitate London professionals in their commute from their homes to their offices, is alleged to only shorten the travel time by twenty minutes.

Although the HS2 been pitched as an alternative to overcrowded and slower current trains, the construction site will see about 227 homes in Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester demolished but 216 council houses in the Camden area will also be at risk.

Camden citizens living in council homes will be forced to leave their rented flats, and those who own will inevitably suffer great financial loss.

As some sites have already been marked for destruction in between Camden and Euston, home owners will either be obligated to sell to the government at a fraction of the price or apply for compensation, which can take years to be settled.

Maria Padilla, a full time mother and Camden resident since the age of 5 has put her life savings into her council home. After decades of  work in retail, she faces losing the family home she cherishes.

Heartbroken over the stress of these plans, she said: “The ones who are really going to be affected are the people in Camden. We seem to be just brushed aside”.

Ms Padilla added “It feels like a lot of money is changing hands and it’s not for the good of the people”

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Her son’s room has been painted and decorated into a pirate theme and her balcony is a haven providing moments of tranquillity.

Upset over the need to demolish a tourist-friendly area, she complained: “There is absolutely no need for it to come to Camden. They seem to have a completely brilliant place for it in Stratford.”

An anti-HS2 campaign was launched in 2011 and protesters refuse to stop until the plans are terminated.

Ayse Sinkil, full time mother and Camden resident, would have to relocate and rent elsewhere, possibly losing the benefit of a low-cost council flat.

Enraged with the way the government is handling this instalment, she said: “It’s gonna make very few people money and they’re just going to stand around patting each other on the back.”

While families are wondering how this will affect raising their children, businessmen commuting to London are more than thrilled.

For professionals working in the City and commuting every weekday, spending additional time with their family is a huge reward after  those long hours at the office.

Kevin Andrews, 31, broker,  is happy to hear that he will have more quality time at home.

“I think it is great news as it means commuting will be hugely more viable. It takes me two hours to get to work everyday, giving me little time at home with my family on week nights. House prices here are too expensive and it isn’t a great place to raise kids but all the jobs are in London. “

He added: “I also think it will be great for the economy creating jobs and releasing some of the pressure on the London home buyers and renters market.”

When asked about how unfair this could be towards council home owners Mr Andrews said: “London is an old city, it was never planned to handle this volume of commuters so progress like this is necessary. Unfortunately there are always some victims of progress but that doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t make improvements like this.”