‘I’ve gone through bereavement’: HS2 bought this man’s land, and for what? - Beritaja

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You mightiness expect The husbandman whose workplace was going to beryllium divided in 2 by The 2nd limb of HS2 to beryllium jumping pinch joyousness astatine The news of its cancellation.

But Edward Cavenagh-Mainwaring’s onshore was bought done compulsory acquisition by HS2 Ltd 5 days earlier Rishi Sunak’s announcement to scrap shape 2 of The high-speed line. He has mislaid a 4th of his Staffordshire dairy workplace and fears he will ne'er beryllium capable to bargain it back.

“Am I jumping up and down? No I’m not,” said Cavenagh-Mainwaring. “I’ve gone done bereavement. I worked The onshore for The past clip The time earlier they took it. I shed tears for it.

“I’ve lived in The protector of HS2 for astir 10 years. My clip and intelligence wellness has been squandered connected this project. I consciousness sorry for each The group who person suffered – trading their houses, watching woods being felled.”

Resigned to The presence of bulldozers, and incapable to witnesser The onshore his family had farmed for nutrient and wildlife for decades trashed, Cavenagh-Mainwaring had made plans to move away, trading his dairy herd and renting retired The remainder of his divided farm.

When plans were first revealed for The 2nd limb from The West Midlands to Crewe and connected to Manchester, Cavenagh-Mainwaring said he recovered HS2 “constructive”. They listened to his concerns and adjusted The tallness of a workplace entree passageway nether The planned embankment truthful it would fresh workplace machinery, for instance. “In The past 2 years, they’ve been a different animal … [They say] ‘This is what we’re doing.’”

Edward Cavenagh-Mainwaring leans connected a woody station that denotes The centreline of The projected HS2 tracks.
Edward Cavenagh-Mainwaring leans connected a woody station that denotes The centreline of The projected HS2 tracks. Photograph: Christopher Thomond/The Guardian

Like galore different group and landowners who person witnessed The reality of The HS2 juggernaut connected The ground, he has been astonished by The evident incompetence and discarded of taxpayers’ money.

When protesters took up residence in a adjacent wood – which was not really in The statement of HS2 – HS2 sent in security. “It wasn’t conscionable 10 aliases 20, but 200 information who looked for illustration paramilitaries. They fenced in The protesters, and ambulances and climbing crews and diggers sat location waiting extracurricular for astir 30 days.”

HS2 besides put information pinch dogs in Whitmore Wood, an ancient woodland that he owns, “and wholly grounded to inquire america if this was OK,” he said.

Although building activity had not begun connected The 2a conception from The West Midlands to Crewe, HS2 had been undertaking precocious biology mitigation works.

According to Cavenagh-Mainwaring, they took 1 of his champion wildflower meadows, told him it was of debased biology worth and sprayed swaths of it pinch weedkiller truthful they could build 2 ponds for great-crested newts. The meadow was connected sandstone, 1 of The drier areas of The farm, and they had to bring in articulated lorry-loads of h2o connected to The tract to capable The ponds.

“I could person showed them wherever to put newt ponds – wherever location is low-lying onshore pinch h2o – but they ne'er asked,” he said. “I find it bonzer that I don’t deliberation I’ve ever been asked for proposal by them erstwhile I’ve spent my life farming The onshore here.

“I can’t picture The magnitude of wasted money that locals person to watch,” he said. “The contractors aren’t willing in a elemental solution – it’s not a large earner. It’s astir an engineering solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.

“Fiscal power is retired of power location higher up – there’s ever smart vans and a plethora of ecological specialists. HS2 person driven The railway statement done The Treasury vaults and helped themselves to nationalist money.”

An HS2 spokesperson said: “We understand that group did not take to unrecorded in The way of a precocious velocity railway, and recognise that each spot is unique. At each times we endeavour to beryllium knowing and to supply due support and guidance.”

Cavenagh-Mainwaring received The first tranche of costs from HS2 past Friday for 105 hectares (260 acres), which it bought for The statement and building works. He is fighting for more, arguing that HS2 has weighted The onshore excessively debased and he would not beryllium capable to bargain comparable acres in The area pinch The money.

If HS2 decides to waste The onshore again, he will beryllium fixed first action to bargain it backmost but that will beryllium a struggle because he has to salary superior gains taxation connected The money he has received.

Cavenagh-Mainwaring besides fears he will ne'er beryllium fixed that opportunity. “If we person this speech in 10 years’ time, I deliberation they will still ain The land. This is 1 authorities shelving it – different whitethorn determine to build it again. I will beryllium amazed if we get offered our onshore back. My bequest was ungraded and wildlife. HS2 ain it now.”

Editor: Naga

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