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Churches voice HS2 residents' fears

20 March 2015

iSTOCK

Three churches near Euston Station - home to HS2, the high-speed rail link - have published a report this week giving a voice to the concerns of local residents.

The rail service would link London Euston to Birmingham, Leeds, and Manchester. Much of the controversy so far has centred on the £43-billion cost of the scheme, and on the track's route through the Chiltern Hills, which is an area of outstanding natural beauty.

The churches - St Mary's, Eversholt Street; St Mary Magdalene, Munster Square, and St Pancras's, Euston Road - fear that the opinions of residents in Euston are being overlooked.

As part of the scheme, Euston Station would be redeveloped, and hundreds of homes, including many on a council estate near by, would have to be demolished.

Nearly 2000 petitions were submitted to the parliamentary select committee that is looking at HS2, and, of these, 113 petitions were from the Euston area.

The three churches were given funding by the diocese of London to employ a researcher to analyse the petitions from local people, finding the common themes and concerns. These included the increased levels of pollution, and inadequate compensation.

The Vicar of St Pancras's, Euston Road, the Revd Anne Stevens, said on Tuesday that the voices of local people were being "drowned out" in the political debate about whether HS2 should go ahead.

"We want to ensure that all the points that Euston people are making about the impact of HS2 will be heard clearly - and taken seriously.

The report, Euston Voices, does not set out a church position on the HS2 debate, but pledges that the churches will work for the "best possible outcomes for the local community they serve".

The report is available at www.stpancraschurch.org

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