HS2 shut my hotel, says owner evicted from 80 year old business
'It’s crazy, nobody wants it! It feels like it’s a monster, just self-propelling'
30 September, 2017 — By Tom Foot
THE Cottage Hotel, run by the same family for almost 50 years, survived Blitz bombing during World War II.
But after more than 80 years, the independent business in Euston Street was closed by the HS2 rail project on Thursday.
It was the subject of the first compulsory purchase order in Camden, one of dozens about to hit businesses and homes in the next few months as side streets are bulldozed to make way for the new £63billion railway to Birmingham.
Cottage Hotel owner Ijaz Chishty is facing “double heartache” as his home, opposite the hotel, is due to be seized by HS2 in November.
“They came on Thursday – no ifs, no buts,” the 56-year-old told the New Journal. “They took the keys, put up the boards. I don’t think I can be here when they knock it down – it is going to be eerie around here. We have been three generations of my family here. My children grew up here, went to school here. They played football in the park there. My father ran the business before me.”
Mr Chishty estimates that a quarter of million people have passed through the 53-room hotel over the years. He had planning permission to expand the business a floor upwards as it had continued to be a success.
HS2, not due to be finished until 2033, will make Euston the biggest construction site in Europe, with hundreds of homes, a school and businesses in the path of the new railway line bulldozed.
Mr Chishty has begun writing a short story about his experience, comparing his personal journey with HS2 to a failed train trip.
“This might end up being the biggest white elephant in this country’s history,” he said. “It’s crazy, nobody wants it. It feels like it’s a monster, just self-propelling. No one can stand in its way. By the time it’s built, we might have flights for £2, electric cars that travel up motorway lanes. Who knows how these things will affect travel in the future?”
He had made representations to the select committees, in the Lords and the Commons, but as with everyone else who objected found the process to be little more than a democratic charade.
Mr Chishty is being offered compensation by the government but the terms have not yet been confirmed. He has had to hire lawyers to compete with what he described as some of the most powerful barristers in the country in HS2’s legal team.
A HS2 spokesman said: “HS2 will help rebalance Britain’s economy by connecting eight out of our 10 biggest cities, increasing rail capacity on the current system and reducing journey times, while also creating thousands of jobs that will transform Euston. We are working with Camden, Transport for London and the Department for Transport to ensure the new Euston delivers the full benefits of HS2 to the neighbourhood and the whole country.”