The proposed HS2 route, once it has left metropolitan London, will run through the countryside of Buckinghamshire, Middlesex, and The West Midlands, through nature reserves, farmland, national parks, areas of outstanding beauty, and over people’s houses. Dews Farm is one of these properties.
Every morning for the past 14 years, Ron Ryall has woken up and walked down Dews Lane rain or shine to open up the gate. He then walks back to his family run garage which has been in business since 1969, servicing and repairing the locals cars. It is not just his business on the lane, Ron and his family live down the road in a Grade 2 Elizabethan farmhouse dating from 1575. The family spent 10 years renovating this house forgoing holidays and other luxuries. The house holds 4 generations. Ron, his wife Anne and his 92-year-old mom Ivy. His daughter Crystal and her 4 children split their time between here and a cottage they co-own next to the garage.
His garage was removed from his possession in August 2019 and on 3rd March 2020 their home was due to be taken by HS2, but it never went ahead. Currently the family have no clue as to when they will be evicted.
Ivy has lived on the lane since 1962. Ivy worked on the lane helping as a farm hand with her father in her early years. Ivy was part of the Women’s land army on the lane during the war working alongside German POW’s. The lane has hardly changed since Ivy’s childhood.
Ivy gets up in the morning cleans her annexe and keeps busy all day helping Anne with the house work, the gardening and looking after the grandkids. Every week Ivy gets her hair done at home and up until last year would take Ron his sandwiches at the garage up the lane every day.
Crystal and her dad co-own the farmhouse and the cottage down the lane. HS2 explained that for them to get compensation for the cottage in the future, Crystal has to continue living there.
“The simple fact is I now need to move on from my home, my home does not accommodate my family anymore. I need to move on and move in with my partner. I explained to Hs2 the situation but they told me it was not their problem that I had 4 children. If HS2 wasn’t there I’d be able to move in with my children’s father. He is unable to stay here as he is a tenant farmer and if he leaves the land he will lose his livelihood. So it is actually Hs2 problem because they are the ones who are stopping me and my family living our lives and that of my parents. My life has completely been on hold since Hs2 started. I cannot officially live with my partner. We have put off getting married, I have put off starting my own livery business.
The kids have a home at my parents, a home at mine and a home at my partners. I have tried to make it as normal as possible that they have more than one place to stay. It is really difficult to try and maintain this way of being all the time. They don’t seem to mind because of the way we make it. It is not the point though. I am up at 5.30 am in the morning. I am back and forth between the house and work, sorting out my horse's, other peoples horses, dad's garage, feeding the babies, dropping and collecting my sons at school and the childminder. The kids will usually be at my parent's place so my mum & dad can look after them in the interim. At the end of the day, I take them to see my partner and then usually back to my parents to have a bath and in bed by 7. On a daily basis, it varies but the kids kind of dictate to me where they want to be, to a degree. I want them to feel safe-I can’t say which home they will sleep at, just as long as they are happy about where they are. We are a very close-knit family and we all just work together to do the best we can for the children whilst HS2 drags on.
Initially on the HS2 website the line was going to be 60 metres from our property. When we went to the meeting to talk about a devaluation amount they said we are demolishing your property not going around it. My mum broke down. At that very first meeting, the words they said to me were you can’t get emotional over this.
We have not been unreasonable, we have agreed to the surveys we have agreed to everything they have requested
We have bent over backwards for them, more than we should and this has not been reciprocated.
We agreed back in April that if they let us stay in our home till March 2020 that they could come and do whatever surveys they needed. Unfortunately, we didn’t get this in writing. It is not unreasonable that we want to get money for the workshop premises before we vacate it. When we dug our heels in explaining this, they put in writing that if we don’t let the surveys continue they will get us out of our properties before March. They are frightening and blackmailing our family. There have been so many stories about people not receiving their money and we cannot afford this as a family. The best one they have done yet was a request for our personal bank statements to prove we couldn’t afford to go and buy another property. How dare they? It doesn’t matter whether I have a penny or a million pounds in the bank. A normal property sale does not happen like this, why should a compulsory purchase be any different? The whole situation is crazy.
There are no words to describe being forced to leave your home. To know that you own a property and owe no money on it. A place you and your parents have worked all your life for and you see how it can be taken away from you just like that. There is nothing you can say to describe this.