Continuing our ongoing coverage of the impact of the high-speed railway project HS2 on residents and businesses, our reporter Kirstie Smith speaks with Peter Healey, owner of Greenleaf Nursery near Southam. When the HS2 project starts being built, Peter and his family will be turfed off the land forcing them to move not just their business but also their family home.
The owner of a plant nursery near Southam has branded the high-speed railway HS2 an ‘unnecessary evil’ as he will be forced to move his home and his business.
Peter Healey, who runs Greenleaf Nursery off Banbury Road, has spoken out about how the project will impact his family’s life.
Greenleaf Nursery, which is a family business, has been on the site near Southam since 1991. Peter and his family have also been living on the site since 1998.
Peter leases the land for his home and business and is awaiting news of compensation for when he has to leave the site.
He said: “When HS2 is built we will lose our home, our business, everything.
“We campaigned against HS2 and put signs up here and we regularly had contact with the local action groups and attended meetings and roadshows.
“HS2 is a totally unnecessary evil.
“It shouldn’t go ahead full stop. The money should be focused on upgrading the rail network we have now.
“This has been the biggest stress we have faced over the last six years. It is always on your mind, not knowing where your next home is going to be. We are being kicked out of house and homes and we can’t make any plans. It is totally unsettling.
“We have a land agent for this. It has all been going on for six years and we still haven’t got any guaranteed figures or plans for relocation. We want totally relocating and we want like for like.
“The people behind HS2 want us to move and we don’t want to move so as far as I am concerned they should be doing their utmost to put everything in place so we can keep going with our lives and they definitely are not.”
So far Peter and his family have been given a proposed date of September 2019 to be off the site.
He said: “I stated from day one that I want 18 months to move. We need to get the money upfront to rebuild our home on a new site, rebuild all our horticultural structures all without closing our retail sales or production. Considering I haven’t got any monies through they are cutting themselves short.
“Because of HS2 we cannot rebuild or renew structures, we can’t expand, which isn’t good from a business point of view.”
Peter and his family are one of the many who will be disrupted by the new high-speed railway. Peter is now urging everyone who will be affected to make sure they have everything in place before they are moved.
He said: “I don’t think a lot of public out there are totally aware of how the HS2 team are treating people and they are definitely not being fair.
”If they want people to move they should be doing their utmost to pay out and get them setup elsewhere instead if having this attitude of railroading through.
“Nobody should leave their land or property until they have all their monies in full.”
Peter was one of the many residents who campaigned against the project has said that the anti-HS2 campaign was too lenient.
He said: “I think the whole campaign was way too civilised and I think there should have been a major protest about it.
“The campaign should have been a lot more hard-hitting and there should have been a march on London to create a bigger national impact.
“I am not being a Nimby when I say this project shouldn’t go ahead. It is going to have a massive impact and there will be a massive devastation of English countryside. The land take, especially agricultural land, is absolutely massive.
“They then plan to replace this with trees and newt ponds and so on but we still lose the agricultural land.
“You can’t live off newts. But for them it ticks all the environmental boxes.
“These people think they can just walk over everybody’s lives and land and personally I think it is wrong.
“If folk don’t want to sell their properties or their land then they shouldn’t have to but they have these compulsory purchase orders.”
Will your home, business or organisation be affected by the HS2 line? Get in touch to tell your story by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01926 457737.