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Proposed Colne bypass causes 'heartbreak' for family
4:25pm Friday 13th December 2013 in News
A FAMILY fear their luxury home could be bulldozed to make way for a new bypass - 35 years after experiencing the same 'heartbreak'.
The ‘brown’ route for the proposed Colne bypass cuts through Stephen and Rachel Boothman’s Grade Two listed bed and breakfast business at Blakey Hall Farm, in Red Lane, Colne.
It is an ‘unbelievable’ case of lightning striking twice for the family after Stephen’s family run farm, Low House Farm, in Silsden, was knocked down to make way for the Aire Valley Trunk Road in 1978.
Now Stephen, 59, Rachel, 54, and their children Lucy 24, and Ben, 22, are facing an anxious wait to discover if the businesses they have invested ‘everything’ in will be forced to close.
Rachel said: “We have spent more than 30 years building this business up. We have clung on with our fingernails at times, and now it could all be snatched away from us. What do we do? Where do we go? It’s heartbreaking.
“We have put our pensions and all the money we have in to building this business up, yet they think they can just take it all away from us.”
The 14th Century building, which is set in 100 acres of scenic Pendle countryside, has been owned by the Boothman family for around 30 years.
They moved to East Lancashire after Stephen was forced to move when his Silsden farm was the subject of a Compulsory Purchase Order.
“It’s unbelievable that lightning could strike twice,” said Rachel.
“My husband lost his family run farm in 1978 when the Aire Valley Trunk Road was built.
“It nearly tore them apart. It was devastating, you wouldn’t think it was possible for the same thing to happen again.
“The farm was the subject of a Compulsory Purchase Order but the compensation was awful, so he has experience of this. I just don’t know what we are supposed to do if it happens again.
“It’s going to drag on now before we hear anything. We can’t plan for the future, we can’t expand, we can’t invest because we don’t know what the future holds.
“When we did work on the B&B we had several strict conditions, such as not having windows overlooking the canal, yet now it could be demolished to make way for a road, it doesn’t make sense.
“These plans are going to kill tourism. We are surrounded by beautiful countryside and they want to build a road straight through it. I know something needs doing about the North Valley traffic, but it shouldn’t have to affect us.”
Rachel said the family were angry that Lancashire County Council had not notified them about the plans and they only found out they could lose their home through press reports.
Marcus Hudson, head of planning for Lancashire County Council, said: “We're at the very earliest stages of looking at whether and how to move forward with the longstanding proposal for a bypass and I hope people will be reassured that the options shown in the transport masterplan are only indicative.
“Any new transport infrastructure on this scale will affect people across a very wide area in different ways and we simply haven't got the level of detail to consult with individual residents and businesses in a meaningful way at this stage.
“We've only just begun to review the responses to the consultation but if the decision is made to move forward with the proposals in the plan, much more work will be needed before we can put forward detailed route options and we'll carry out more specific consultation as appropriate at every stage.”
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