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Farm proves early victim of high speed railway line.

Byline: Helen Machin Special Correspondent

AMIDLAND farm and shop has become one of the first victims of the controversial high speed rail project (HS2) as the line will cut the surrounding land in two.

Packington Moor Farm shop, at Whittington, near Lichfield, shut on Saturday after 30 years of trading.

The decision to proceed with HS2 has proved devastating for the Barnes family, who ran the business.

John Barnes' family have lived at the farm since 1921.

Together with wife Rosemary, son Henry and daughter-in-law Jo, he will be relocating to a farm in Gloucestershire.

Mr Barnes, aged 64, said: "HS2 will cut our land in half, so it's not viable at all. We will lose 15 out of 19 of our buildings. The farmhouse will be left standing, but it will be yards from HS2."

The family served a blight notice on the Government which respondend with a compulsory purchase order on the farm.

This led the family to make the difficult decision to relocate.

Mr Barnes said: "The area will be really badly affected by HS2. It's the fragmenting of a community and I feel very sorry for anyone who is going through this. It has been a tortuous process.

"Leaving the family home after all these years will be a wrench."

Over the years the family has adapted and grown the business as a response to a challenging agricultural climate.

The farm has been a model of diversification, from free range poultry and eggs back in the 1930s, to a potato business and one of the very first irrigation systems in the area. A successful pig enterprise was later developed and then combinable crops and pick-your-own fruits in the 1970s.

The farm shop was opened in 1986, which in turn led to the family hosting weddings in the farmhouse garden and finally the creation of the well-known Oat Barn at Packington.

After more than 700 weddings and ten years of happy new couples, this too will close at the end of December.

Rosemary Barnes said: "The dark and depressing threat of HS2 has been everpresent following the announcement of the railway in 2010.

"Any hopes it would never happen were quickly dashed at the early stages of negotiation.

"The challenging and distressing process with HS2 could never have been predicted and should not be underestimated by those just beginning their own fight."

Mrs Barnes added: "If this really is progress and for the good of the country, then you go with it. But the farmhouse is the heart of our family and it will be mothballed.

"We'd like to thank all of our customers from over the years - we have received lots of lovely messages."

The area will be really badly affected by HS2. It's the fragmenting of a communityJohn Barnes

CAPTION(S):

John and Rosemary Barnes with their staff at Packington Moor Farm shop

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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Sep 28, 2017
Words:478
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