Bailiffs retreat after peaceful resistance in Steeple Claydon during attempted land seizure for HS2 works
Bailiffs arrived at a farm in Steeple Claydon this morning intent on seizing land for the construction of HS2 - but were met with resistance from the landowner and protesters.
Rose Hill Farm, owned by Clive Higgins, was also attended by approximately 15 police officers as bailiffs made their way down the driveway at 11am.
Flanked by around 10 protesters including Frank Mahon from Anti-HS2 SOC (Save Our Countryside) and representatives of Extinction Rebellion, two bailiffs approached Mr Higgins and asked if he intended to give up his land voluntarily.
Mr Higgins responded 'no' and the bailiffs left the premises. The whole affair lasted no longer than three minutes.
Thames Valley Police communicated to protesters and the media about an hour later that HS2 had told them they would not be returning for the day.
We spoke to Mr Higgins afterwards and he told us: “HS2 turned up intending to seize a great section of our land so that they could, they use the term de-veg, a sort of nasty euphemism really, what they mean is cutting down 500-year-old oak trees and laying waste to a whole stretch of our land.”
Mr Higgins, who still hasn't been paid by HS2 for the 3.7 acres they wish to take from him, believes HS2 has not followed the correct procedures with regards to what they intend to do on his property, particularly relating to the design of a bridge over Addison Road.
Mr Higgins has lived at the property for 36 years and currently runs a dog kennel business from the site, as well as a small farm, but fears he may have to move if HS2 do not change their plans since his business will become untenable.
Clearly passionate about the land, Mr Higgins told us: “I have spent my lifetime planting trees, recovering waterways, recovering ponds and making this a beautiful corner of Britain," adding, "it will be seriously upsetting if someone comes and destroys it.”
It's unclear when HS2 intend to return to try to seize the land again.
Frank Mahon told the Bucks Herald: “We're organising ourselves now to go back up there in the morning.”