I wasn’t born when the contractors tore through the silence at Stott Hall, changing life forever - Jill Thorp

The controversial decision to forge ahead with the HS2 rail link has come as a devastating blow to many.

Jill Thorpe reflects on what HS2 will mean for some landowners and farmers

I have nothing but sympathy for those directly affected by this ridiculous and monumental waste of money.

I’ve closely followed the plight of a family, desperate to keep their farm and the subsequent issues they have suffered following the announcement.

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Their pleas and endless campaign to save their home proved futile as it fell on deaf ears.

A farm, handed down through generations, expanded, progressed to a thriving family business to be bulldozed so a matter of minutes can be saved on a journey to the capital.

I can’t pretend to understand what they’re going through, I wasn’t born when the contractors tore through the silence at Stott Hall, changing life forever.

It took them ten years from breaking the news to Ken Wilde, the previous tenant, to work actually commencing.

Several other 18th century farmsteads that shared that stretch of the Pennines were destroyed and many others left in ruins.

The remains are dotted across the moors, some were simply bulldozed into the foundations of the motorway.

Despite Stott Hall being earmarked for demolition an issue with the surrounding land made the idea of going around the farm a more viable option. I’m left in no doubt the overwhelming publicity and subsequent fame for the chief engineer was a strong driving force behind the bizarre solution.

The remit being to design a motorway that must remain open at all times regardless of the inclement weather to which the Pennines are often prone. No solid fencing or planting of trees was allowed denying occupants of Stott Hall any sort of barrier from the huge volume of traffic passing their door.

Aside from the aesthetics of the situation, the proximity of large vehicles to the front door put Ken and his family in an incredibly dangerous position.

After several vehicles including a great tanker ended up quite literally on their doorstep, a safety barrier was installed around the farm.

I’ve never known a quiet Stott Hall, except for on the occasions when the motorway grinds to a halt.

When that does happen, I find it upsetting, this brief look into how life once was and the knowledge that it never will be like that again.

But for Ken and his family the change and overwhelming intrusion into their solitude and privacy must have been almost unbearable. However, he dealt with it in a way I struggle to and got on with it.

I expect in time we will accept the new rail link. The beautiful old farms, historical buildings, ancient woodland and waterways will be forgotten, assigned to the history books.

The environmental vandalism, loss of land, ruthless destruction of people’s lives and businesses will be deemed for the greater good and a bit more of our unique and quaint little island will be lost forever.