Wednesday, 27 January 2016

'We are not responsible for Brent Council', HS2 Select Committee

Pete Firmin,  a South Kilburn estate resident and Arantxa Arranz, a parent from St Mary's Catholic Primary School spoke to the HS2 Select Committee yesterday about the impact of the sinking of the 40m deep shaft at Canterbury Works, next to the school, on children, parents and the local community.

At one point when the lack of consultation from Brent Council about the vent proposal and their failure to enforce 'Considerate constructor' standards with the company regenerating South Kilburn were raised, Chair of the Committee said that they were not responsible for Brent Council.

Arantxa  told the Committee that the school and parents had opposed the building of the shaft, supported by the interim headteacher in May, and then returned after the half-term holiday to find that the interim headteacher had been replaced by an Executive Headteacher and an Interim Executive Board imposed to replace the governing body. After that the school's opposition was ended and communication with parents about their concerns was minimal.

She asked, in some bewilderment, why the change of vent site from one next to Queen's Park station (on a car park) with easy road access and no homes, to one next to a primary school, accessible only by narrow roads and close to housing?  HS2 had initially wanted to build the vent next to the station and had admitted the unsuitability of the Canterbury Works site next to the school.
Peter Bottomley, a Committee member, said that this was because Brent Council had asked the promoters (HS2) for the change and added, 'the detail is not for us'.

The promoters said they had offered up to £500,000 to the school to mitigate the impact of the works but Ms Arranz said that this would not compensate for the impact on the children's learning, possible respiratory problems caused by the works and the anger of accidents outside the school.

HS2 said that the period of 'intense construction' would only last for 6 months with 50 workers on site and 50 truck movement into the site and 50 out during that period.  Over the following 2-1/2 years the workforce would be 25 and most of that work would be internal fitting out of the shaft.

The House of Commons video (View from 11.15 am) can be found HERE

The Pell Frischmann report on the impact of works at the two sites can be found HERE 


  1. 'We are not responsible for Brent Council'
    That's Butt's line isn't it?

  2. Interesting line from HS2 (and in effect from Brent - a school is the Diocese and the head, not the governors or the pupils and their parents.

    And it was fascinating to hear the people from Queens Park Residents Association describe their area as "densely populated" just after describing how it contains an 80 acre park! And that in contrast to South Kilburn!