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HS2- What to Expect: Despair of the Vale’s farmers

Farmer Jeremy Fenemore with his cattle on his farm in Quainton

Farmer Jeremy Fenemore with his cattle on his farm in Quainton

 

Several farms in the Vale would be so seriously disrupted by the construction of HS2 that their current business would cease to exist.

Farmhouses and farmyards would be knocked down to make way for the high speed rail line, and many fields would be severed. This would create numerous smaller fields, some so small they would be unworkable.

Those that can be worked would need new fencing and gateways, creating ongoing maintenance, labour and materials costs.

And to rub salt further in the wound, productive arable farmland would be taken to plant trees and create balancing ponds to meet HS2’s environmental habitat targets.

HS2 Ltd admits in the Environmental Statement that the disruption caused to Calley Farm in Sedrup, near Aylesbury, means it is unlikely to continue to function as a dairy farm, and an alternative agricultural use for the holding would be required.

Durham Farm and Road Barn Farm near Wendover would suffer the demolition of their entire farmsteads.

In some cases, part of the farmland taken temporarily during the construction phase would be returned to the farmer on completion of the line.

But whilst the report suggests compensation would allow farmers to replace lost land, there is no guarantee that land would be readily available near to farmsteads, and because so many farmers are losing land, the competition for any space which did come up for sale would be intense.

Jeremy Fenemore, who farms in partnership with his brother David in Quainton, would lose 90 acres of arable land and 45 acres of meadowland to the train line.

As a tenant farmer his compensation would amount to four times the annual rent, and the landlord is under no obligation to replace the lost land.

He said: “I am really wopried about the loss of income from the arable land, it is a major part of my income.

“Arable land is more productive and has greater earning capacity.

“I am also concerned about the serious disruption we will endure for 10 to 15 years during construction.

“There are so many narrow little roads around here and the effect on the way I farm is going to be immense.”

Mr Fenemore runs a traditional mixed beef cattle, sheep and arable farm, and grows wheat, barley, animal feed beans and oil seed rape.

He qualified some years ago for the Higher Level Stewardship scheme operated by Natural England, which means that appropriate areas of meadowland on his farm are managed for the benefit of the environment and wildlife.

But large swaths of this, as well as arable land, will be lost to HS2.

Ironically, HS2 then intends to take more of his arable land to create new grass meadows.

He said: “I have done all sorts of things with my environmental meadows, and my neighbours like to walk in them, and a lot of that will now be wasted.

“It is absolutely ridiculous that HS2 is going to take arable land out of production for environmental mitigation.

“They walk along or use maps and have the hand of God over it and it’s better publicity to make it look environmentally attractive, so they take large swathes of land either side of the track for trees and plants.

“Farmers’ businesses are struggling from ground loss for the railway and also for the new meadows.”

MOST SERIOUSLY IMPACTED FARMS INCLUDE:

AYLESBURY AND STOKE MANDEVILLE

1) Calley Farm, Sedrup, near Aylesbury would lose 40% of its land during the construction phase, with 29% lost permanently, making it impossible to continue functioning as a dairy farm.

2) Stoke House Farm, Stoke Mandeville, an arable and grassland farm for equestrian use, would be severed by the A4010 bypass.

3) Whitethorn Farm, Stoke Mandeville, would be severed and a building demolished.

4) Moat Farm, Stoke Mandeville, a mixed farm with arable, beef cattle and sheep, would be severed by HS2 and the A4010 bypass.

5) Mill House Farm, Stoke Mandeville, where free range poultry supply the Rent-a-Hen business, would lose 18% of the land.

6) Putlowes Farm would lose 11% of its land and the holding would be severed.

WENDOVER, HALTON AND DUNSMORE

1) Durham Farm, an arable and beef cattle farm, would have its residential property and entire farmstead demolished for the construction of the Wendover viaduct and would be likely to cease operating as a farm.

2) Road Barn Farm would have its residential property and entire farmstead demolished for the construction of the Wendover viaduct and would be likely to cease operating as a farm.

3) Hunt’s Green Farm, an arable, beef cattle and sheep operation, would have 48% of its land used by HS2 during the construction period, as excavated material would be permanently deposited there. The land used for this would be eventually restored to agricultural use and the total permanent land lost would be 14% of the holding.

4) Strawberry Hill Farm, an arable, beef cattle and sheep farm, would be severed. It would lose 20% of its land during the construction phase; 11% would be lost permanently.

5) Hartley Farm would permantently lose 56% of its land.

6) Hunters Leaze would permanently lose 71% of its land and a farm building would be demolished.

7) Chiltern Million would permanently lose 68% of its land.

WADDESDON AND QUAINTON

1) Glebe Farm would be severed, lose land and a slurry lagoon.

2) Doddershall Park would lose land and residential property.

3) Hill Farm, a beef, sheep and arable farm at Quainton, would lose 90 acres of its most productive arable land.

4) Needles Farm would lose land and be severed.

5) Crossroads Farm in Quainton would permanently lose 33% of its land and be severed.

6) Upper South Farm would permanently lose 20% of its land and be severed.

7) The Waddesdon Estate would permanently lose 2% of its land.

CALVERT AND STEEPLE CLAYDON

1) Greatmoor, Portway and Shepherd’s Furze would have its residential property and farm buildings demolished, the land would be severed and 14% would be permanently taken.

2) Home Farm would permanently lose 13% of its land and be severed.

3) Barton Grounds Farm would permanently lose 25% of its land. 4) The Claydon Estate, with arable, beef cattle and sheep farming, would permanently lose 4% of its 1,400ha.

 

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