Camden Town Unlimited (CTU) wanted to prevent the Government’s proposal to cut through the heart of Camden’s high street and its world-famous markets with a route connecting HS2 and HS1.
As a Business Improvement District, CTU represents the levy-paying business members based in the Camden area. Their collective view was that the construction associated with the HS1-HS2 ‘surface link’ would be hugely disruptive to Camden Town, its markets and its creative economy, potentially causing years of blight and insecurity for local businesses and residents.
ICG led an integrated campaign, combining high-level media relations and political engagement, which ultimately resulted in the Government’s decision to drop its proposal.
Early in the programme, Insight commissioned economic analysis to strengthen the case CTU would later to make to Government and other relevant stakeholders. This considered the economic disruption caused by the intended surface link, and proposed an alternative in the form of a fully-tunnelled solution that would ensure the two high speed lines could connect, while allowing a more efficient and regular service to run with minimal local disruption.
With a strong base of research, Insight honed CTU’s media messaging to ensure that both reports attracted widespread attention from the national and local press.
CTU’s Chief Executive was quoted in a number of news articles and live broadcast features including: ITV News; BBC News; LBC Radio; The Financial Times; The Metro; and The London Evening Standard.
The economic reports – together with various consultation responses to relevant Government departments and agencies – ensured that CTU could embark on its political engagement strategy from a position of strength with robust supporting collateral. After ICG’s identification of key targets, CTU engaged with stakeholders active in the debate over high speed rail, including: relevant ministers such as the Chief Secretary to the Treasury; the Shadow Transport Minister; local Members of Parliament; and, the HS2 Ltd Safeguarding Team. This led to a number of positive contributions made by MPs on CTU’s behalf in Parliament.
The key achievement of the campaign came when the Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin MP, delivered a Ministerial Statement to Parliament, in which he stated that the link placed ‘too many compromises’ on the Camden community and pledged to remove the relevant clause from the High Speed Rail Bill.