A STAFFORD farming couple who could see their land and business carved up by a £32billion high speed rail network have said they are devastated by the proposals.
Richard Williams and his wife Julie have a successful bed and breakfast and equine business off Weston Road which lies directly in the path of the preferred route of HS2 announced by the Government this morning.
A Former chairman of National Farmer’s Union, Mr Williams said if the plans went ahead it could mean the end of his livelihood.
“I was shocked when I heard the news, devastated as this route will come straight through us,” said Mr Williams. “I think it cuts our land in half and I think it will knock the barn conversions flat and the farmhouse as it cuts its way through.”
Mr Williams said there would be no access possible either as the railway line was set to run across the main driveway and effectively cut the farm off completely.
“If this goes ahead it means the end of us from a business point of view,” he said.
Mr William’s, who grows cereal, said his family had been farming the site since 1942 and he had hoped to pass on the reins of the business to his own children.
“I had hoped my son and daughter would get into the business but this announcement now presents a huge problem,” he said. “We have to look at what’s been proposed and what happens next for us.”
Mr Williams said he and his family had to look seriously at the proposals and decide what to do next but stressed in the meantime is would remain business at normal.
He said he didn’t see the proposals for the HS2 line as benefitting the people of Staffordshire and added he would rather see the money used elsewhere for the county.
The National Farmers Union has pledged to support all farmers affected by the proposals and has called a meeting at Staffordshire County Showground in the Boden Room at 2pm on 11 February to discuss the next phase of the scheme.
NFU regional director John Mercer said his team was on hand to update member on the situation, the potential impact and what the union was doing to ensure the best possible deal for its members.
“We have deep sympathy for all of our members who are unhappy with the HS2 proposals and we are doing all we can to help them,” he said. “I would encourage any affected members to attend the Staffordshire meeting as this will be an excellent opportunity for them to discuss the proposals, hear what happens next and receive expert advice.”
He said the union had met with HS2 on numerous occasions and was also working to ensure the Government stuck to its pledge to do all it could to offer assistance and support to those affected by the planned route.
To book a place at the meeting call 01952 400500.