HS2 plans 'threaten city markets'


Camden market stock

An area of London famous for its markets could suffer 9,000 job losses and more than £600 million in lost revenue if plans for the HS2 high-speed rail project are not changed, according to a report.

As planned, HS2 will cut through Camden in north London when its first London to Birmingham stage is completed in 2026.

This could mean the loss of 9,100 jobs and £631 million in the period 2014-31, a report commissioned by business group Camden Town Unlimited (CTU) predicted.

In addition, the losses to the markets could amount to around £91.8 million, with Stables Market expected to make losses of £39 million, and Camden Lock and Hawley Markets losing £24 million and £22 million respectively.

The report said that by shutting down large parts of the markets for extended periods of time, the danger was that traders would move elsewhere, and international visitors would no longer be attracted to the area, leading to the markets' permanent closure and the loss of hundreds of small businesses.

CTU chief executive Simon Pitkeathley said: "It's Camden Town's vibrant creative economy which attracts businesses, people and tourists to the area. The economic impact of the current HS2 link could have a devastating effect on this, with huge job losses and a massive blow to the area's economy.

"We are committed to working with Government and HS2 to make sure that any impact to Camden Town from the rail link is kept to an absolute minimum. The best way to do this is to put the link underground.

"We're not saying 'not in my backyard', we just want to safeguard Camden Town's position at the heart of London's creative community, and protect the jobs and businesses that depend on it."

Will Fulford, of Camden Lock Market, said: "Camden Town's markets are a living, breathing part of London's creative heritage. Camden Lock market alone is home to hundreds of entrepreneurs and small businesses, helping to make Camden and London a global destination for arts, fashion, music and design.

"Camden's market traders can't afford to take a £91 million hit. There is a real threat that the impact of this link will permanently threaten the market's future, causing devastation to our unique local economy that can never be mended.

"Without the markets, Camden will lose some of the magic that has made it the creative hub of London."

HS2 Ltd spokesman Ben Ruse, said: "It is simply not true that HS2 is set to close large parts of Camden's markets. We've never said this and we don't have any plans that suggest this.

"In fact, across Camden we are working with a wide range of groups to ensure we can deliver the hundreds of homes and thousands of jobs we have promised.

"It is a shame that the findings of this report are nothing more than scaremongering - we are even working with Camden and the markets to ensure any associated HS2 works do not deter visitors.

"Reports of this nature are damaging but we look forward to building relations with all parties, including stall holders in a measured, sensible and productive way."