HS2 must prove that their 'Euston Approaches' design is not dangerous

by Hero Granger-Taylor

HS2 must prove that their 'Euston Approaches' design is not dangerous

by Hero Granger-Taylor
Hero Granger-Taylor
Case Owner
I have lived all my life in Park Village East. Opposite my house is the Camden Cutting, leading to Euston. Major uncertainties over the current HS2 design make life for residents very stressful.
17
days to go
£7,790
pledged of £21,500 stretch target from 100 pledges
Pledge now
Hero Granger-Taylor
Case Owner
I have lived all my life in Park Village East. Opposite my house is the Camden Cutting, leading to Euston. Major uncertainties over the current HS2 design make life for residents very stressful.
Pledge now

This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

Latest: Aug. 2, 2019

First target reached!

We have reached the first target of £7,500. Many, many thanks to all the individuals and groups who have given money, and to all the people who have circulated information about my appeal. &n...

Read more

We have reached the first target of £7,500. Many, many thanks to all the individuals and groups who have given money, and to all the people who have circulated information about my appeal.    

The money raised so far will be enough to cover my lawyers' fees in making the first part of the Judicial Review claim, the application for permission to bring forward a substantive claim. 

This initial application can be granted or refused. Since we feel our case is strong, we are hopeful that we shall be given permission to make the substantive claim. 

If we succeed in the initial stage, we shall at that point send out a new appeal for donations, for the remaining £14,000 of the 'stretch target'. This additional money would be to cover the costs of the actual hearing. 

If our initial application is turned down, something that often happens apparently, we would be able to appeal the decision. But appealing would mean entering into a longer process, and we would have to think carefully before carrying on.  

Currently we have no idea about a timetable. I'll add an update to the site when this becomes clearer.

"There is evidence that the proposed scheme poses a serious risk of loss of life and of causing great damage to properties in the area."

The enormous HS2 infrastructure project is threatening the safety and security of thousands of people, could damage historic buildings, and is literally shaking communities across the country to their foundation. 

I'm taking legal action to force HS2 Ltd to hand over information about the impact of their activity on our community in North London.

The Judicial Review I and my solicitor will request will be to challenge the decision by HS2 Ltd not to provide me with sufficient information to allow me and my advisers to assess how the latest design for the HS2 railway will affect me and my Human Rights. 

HS2 Ltd must be held to account and produce the information that has the potential to have such a negative effect on my community. So far I have taken them on myself but now I need your help. Please contribute now and share this page with your friends, family and on social media.

Case Background

In March 2017, just after the HS2 bill had been passed, HS2 Ltd announced a major change to the design of the proposed HS2 railway as it comes through the Euston Approaches, just north of Euston station. Since that time I and others have been trying hard to get full details of this new design, so that we can assess its environmental effects and its effects on the stability our homes. The new design moves the HS2 tracks to a lower level, into three tunnels and a vast cavern. Instead of being restricted to the Camden Cutting, the new design covers a larger area, with two of the tunnels passing under the early 20th century Park Village East retaining wall and coming close below some of the Grade II* listed houses, part of John Nash's scheme for Regent's Park. 

The change of design worries me particularly because I am old enough to remember a long period of repairs to the retaining wall carried out in the 1960s. I have also seen documents which confirm that the wall had had to undergo fundamental repairs as early as 1920. 

In April 2013, HS2 Ltd wrote to the residents of Park Village East: “Our engineers are aware that the retaining wall between the railway and Park Village East has suffered over time from movement and damage... The replacement of this wall ... should address these historic subsidence issues”.

The new design announced in 2017 however, unlike previous designs put forward by HS2 Ltd, does not include rebuilding the retaining wall. Furthermore, if the tunnels are constructed, there will be no possibility of rebuilding the wall at a later date. 

An expert report originally written for the Camden Civic Society by Colin Elliff BSc CEng MICE  explains how the creation of tunnels actually under the retaining wall will make the wall itself even more unstable. His report states: 

“HS2 Ltd has released only a limited number of documents showing the 2017 Three Tunnels design and this has made it difficult to draw definitive conclusions. However, even in this limited documentation, both the size of the proposed underground structures and their proximity to existing structures are readily apparent, and there is a clear risk of catastrophic collapse, both during construction, and also afterwards. To date HS2 Ltd has offered no credible information to explain how this underground structure can be efficiently and safely constructed.

“In general, particular aspects of the 2017 Three Tunnels design so far disclosed by HS2 Ltd carry an unacceptable level of risk of settlement and collapse. It is very difficult to see how the risk can be safely mitigated simply by applying any level of best practice in construction.

“The parallel alignment of retaining wall and tunnel raises the very obvious risk that the concentrated deadweight of the retaining wall – estimated at 130 tonnes per metre – immediately above will cause the tunnel below to simply collapse with catastrophic consequences.

“There is a range of disaster scenarios ranging from the tunnel boring machine becoming trapped underground, to the total structural collapse of the retaining wall into the tunnel. In the worst case this could be a catastrophic collapse which, as well as having a disastrous effect on the infrastructure, could put the personal safety of hundreds of rail travellers and residents at risk.”

My solicitor, Jayesh Kunwardia, Partner at Hodge Jones & Allen, has written: “We have made repeated requests for information from HS2 Ltd about the current design, but nothing new has been forthcoming. There is evidence that the proposed scheme poses a serious risk of loss of life and of causing great damage to properties in the area. It is unacceptable that HS2 Ltd have not given us sight of a complete set of documents and Ms Granger-Taylor is left with no other choice but to take HS2 to court.”

Our case

The most recent letter written by my solicitor to HS2 Ltd, as well as asking again for various drawings and studies directly relevant to me and my home, requests assurances from HS2 Ltd that they have assessed whether the construction work they are planning infringes my right to private life and home, and my right to peaceful enjoyment of possessions (Article 8 and Article 1 Protocol 1). 

If these documents and assurances are not provided to us by 10th July, and our experience up to now makes us think it very unlikely that they will be, we intend to begin Judicial Review proceedings. 

The decision we will ask to be reviewed in the JR process is the decision by HS2 Ltd not to provide the information we have requested. If our application to the court is successful, HS2 Ltd will be obliged to publish full details of their current design as well as to publish any Environmental Impact Assessments they have completed. If they have not done an up-to-date Environmental Impact Assessment, based around the new design, they will be obliged to undertake one. 

All these different kinds of information will be very helpful to me and to my neighbours, and to residents and businesses in the broader Euston area. If, when published, it becomes clear that the current design for bringing HS2 trains to Euston is not workable, the viability of the larger HS2 project will be called into question. At the least, the line between Old Oak Common and Euston would need to be very differently designed, and the start of construction work delayed long enough to allow this to happen. 

The amount I am hoping to raise 

Costs so far have been covered by me and by my solicitors. Mr Elliff has given his time pro bono. The sum of £7,500 I am hoping now to raise from donations is to cover the cost of preparing the initial Judicial Review claim. If the figure of £7,500 is not reached, donations made below that total will be returned to donors. 

The further estimated 'stretch' sum of £14,500 would be to cover the cost of the court proceedings, if we are given permission to go ahead with our claim.

Recent contributions

Be a promoter

Your share on Facebook could raise £26 for the case

I'll share on Facebook
Update 2

Hero Granger-Taylor

Aug. 2, 2019

First target reached!

We have reached the first target of £7,500. Many, many thanks to all the individuals and groups who have given money, and to all the people who have circulated information about my appeal.    

The money raised so far will be enough to cover my lawyers' fees in making the first part of the Judicial Review claim, the application for permission to bring forward a substantive claim. 

This initial application can be granted or refused. Since we feel our case is strong, we are hopeful that we shall be given permission to make the substantive claim. 

If we succeed in the initial stage, we shall at that point send out a new appeal for donations, for the remaining £14,000 of the 'stretch target'. This additional money would be to cover the costs of the actual hearing. 

If our initial application is turned down, something that often happens apparently, we would be able to appeal the decision. But appealing would mean entering into a longer process, and we would have to think carefully before carrying on.  

Currently we have no idea about a timetable. I'll add an update to the site when this becomes clearer.


Update 1

Hero Granger-Taylor

July 12, 2019

Solicitors instructed to proceed to Judicial Review application

On 10th July, we received back from the Government Legal Department a response to our 'pre-action protocol letter'. But none of the hard information we had asked for was included. The letter itself also contained the admission that they had undertaken no risk assessment of the Park Village East retaining wall. And it confirmed that they had done no Environmental Impact Assessment for the Euston and Camden Cutting area since the bill was enacted in 2017, in other words they have done no EIA for the current design for the Euston Approaches, even though this is so different from the earlier AP3 and 'bill' designs.  

The response is wholly inadequate so I have instructed my solicitor, Jayesh Kunwardia of Hodge Jones and Allen, to proceed with the application for Judicial Review. So we are on track to force HS2 Ltd to get the whole of their very dubious Euston Approaches design properly studied! 

    There are no public comments on this case page.