Sally Cakebread falsely accused of crimes by HS2 and Department for Transport

Sally Cakebread was falsely accused by the department of transport of committing crimes, relating to activism at the HS2 contractor site on Harvil Road.

Thursday, 2nd May 2019, 1:15 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd May 2019, 1:28 pm
The Bucks Herald says: #EnoughIsEnough!
The Bucks Herald says: #EnoughIsEnough!

Sally Cakebread was falsely accused by Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport and HS2 of committing crimes, relating to activism at the HS2 contractor site on Harvil Road

in Harefield.

Sally received a letter from Eversheds Sutherland solicitors, acting on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport and HS2 accusing her of being part of & incidents of trespass on land and vehicles belonging to suppliers and contractors working on the land, obstruction of the highway and access to the land and property damage.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The Bucks Herald says: #EnoughIsEnough!

The incidents are said to have involved individuals climbing onto moving vehicles, standing, sitting and lying down in the path of vehicles, and climbing underneath vehicles too.

Eversheds Sutherland, who took up the case on behalf of Chris Grayling's Department for Transport make clear in their letter their intention to name Sally Cakebread as a Defendant

of a High Court injunction and restraining order on the site.

The letter states that they have “specific evidence that you (Sally) have participated in the incident.”

The site where she was falsely accused relates to the land near Harvil Road in Harefield, near Denham in South Bucks, where HS2 contractors are currently engaging in preliminary


Receiving this solicitor’s letter caused Sally intense emotional distress leading her to seek medical help. She had to engage a solicitor to respond to these claims. Sally says she feels

like she is living in China or Russia, not England. She was very shocked to be falsely accused of committing 45 crimes; also that the Secretary of State for Transport sought to take her to the High Court and potentially seize her assets.

Ultimately, the case did go to the High Court where the Judge issued an injunction but showed sympathy for the environmental protesters and did not make an order to seize their assets.

Subsequently Eversheds Sutherland sent a letter saying they had received information that had suggested Sally’s involvement, but that in light of my letter they had decided not to pursue the matter and not name Sally in the injunctive proceedings.

They apologised for “any inconvenience.”

Sally says: “Surely the Government should not go around accusing people of crimes unless it has absolute proof of their involvement which HS2 clearly did not have. I have still not received a proper apology or explanation or any compensation which I think HS2 should have offered given the seriousness of the allegations and the suffering caused. I believe HS2 is using bullying tactics on people affected by the railway and campaigners against it.

"Chris “Failing” Grayling is a total hypocrite and must be sacked. Not only was I accused personally by him of 45 crimes I did not commit including Trespass but HS2 has twice trespassed on my family’s privately-owned farm. The first time 2 men from HS2 drove down and said they were trying to get to Savay Lake.

"I told them to leave which they did. The second time HS2 contracted WSP to come round to ask about land ownership (why are they not getting this info from Land Registry, but wasting more tax payer's money pointlessly?), and WSP trespassed on our farm. We had not granted them permission to enter. They had not even requested it. They just trespassed.”

Sally’s family own Savay Farm, in Denham, within the Colne Valley, where HS2 plan to build the Colne Valley Viaduct — a concrete and steel structure 3.4 m long, c 30 metres high, wrapped in power lines and caging — and which will pass 200 m from their garden and within 300 m of the ancient manor house.

The house is older than Notre Dame at almost 900 years, dating back to 1130. It was used by Henry VIII as a hunting lodge. The farm was bought by Sally Cakebread’s late father in 1945.

Sally says: “As a Grade 1 listed ancient monument the Government has a duty under law to protect not only our house but its setting. The Government has failed us and this country’s precious heritage by bypassing this law using the Hybrid Bill for HS2. It is a miracle that such an old house has survived so well. Its history is fascinating including exorcisms mentioned in “King Lear”, murder, Hollywood actors and a Fascist owner namely Sir Oswald Mosley.

"As far as I know Savay Farm is the only inhabited grade 1 property along the whole route including phase 1 and phase 2 of HS2 within 300 m of the line which is unfair and wrong. HS2 should have sought to avoid grade 1 properties at all costs and could have sited the Colne Valley viaduct further from our house or in a tunnel as proposed by Hillingdon Council.

"Instead HS2 chose to blatantly destroy part of this country's heritage. It is similar to ISIS in Palmyra. The noise of passing trains will be equivalent to 65 decibels or standing on the edge of a motorway. The vibrations on a house with no foundations and one brick thick may well cause it to crumble.”

A spokesperson for HS2 said:

“A letter was sent in error on behalf of HS2 Ltd to Sally Cakebread. We unreservedly apologise for this error and we sent her a written apology at the time. We fully understand how difficult it is for people impacted by the railway and are committed to supporting affected communities along the line of route.”

A DfT spokesperson said:

“It is clear that an error was made in this event, which is why HS2 Ltd withdrew the allegations as soon as they became aware of the mistake. HS2 Ltd have apologised for any distress caused.”