16:52 Tuesday 12 February 2013

High-speed rail puts farmer's future at risk

Written byRICH GUTTRIDGE

12/02/13 HS2 Farmer - Manor Farm, Uttoxeter Road, BlithburyLuke Mellor - Farmer who owns a farm in Blythbury will be effected by the new HS2. 12/02/13 HS2 Farmer - Manor Farm, Uttoxeter Road, BlithburyLuke Mellor - Farmer who owns a farm in Blythbury will be effected by the new HS2.

A FARMER is facing losing his home and his livelihood due to the forthcoming arrival of high-speed rail.

Luke Mellor, who runs Manor Farm, in Blithbury, near Yoxall, is facing the prospect of seeing his farm cut in two after the Government announced its proposed route for HS2.

It comes as 200 farmers from the county convened in Stafford for crisis talks with the National Farmers Union (NFU) to discuss the way forward for those who will be impacted.

Father-of-two Mr Mellor stands to be one of the worst affected, with the route set to run close to Staffordshire villages Whittington, Kings Bromley, Alrewas and Fradley.

Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant said he was ‘totally opposed to HS2 going anywhere near Staffordshire’, while Andrew Bridgen, MP for North West Leicestershire, which also stands to be affected, said the region would receive ‘all of the pain and none of the gain’ from the project.

Mr Mellor, 35, admitted he did not know what the future held for his organic dairy farm.

He said: “This is the biggest thing that’s ever happened to us – it cuts our grazing farm into two. I’m scratching my head as to how I’m going to be able to run the farm.

“It’s about 400 metres from the house, so I can bear the sound, but it will take one hell of a proportion of the grazing area. It’s very daunting. It’s not going to affect just me, I’ve got my two lads to think about too.

“I may have to have a serious rethink and consider taking a step back. But then if I go to sell the farm it will have devalued, so I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place.”

As productive and comforting as the talks with the NFU may have been, the truth is that those affected are living in hope alone.

Mr Mellor added: “I’m just keeping my fingers crossed. It’s not a case of wanting the line to move, because if it misses us it’s going to hit someone else, so basically I just don’t want it to happen.”

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