A devastated family have said they are left playing “a waiting game” to see whether their beloved home and business will be destroyed by a proposed Pendle bypass.
Stephen and Rachel Boothman have worked tirelessly developing a bed and breakfast at Blakey Hall Farm, in Red Lane, Colne, for the past 30 years.
But now they fear that it is going to be snatched away from them by Lancashire County Council as the Colne bypass’ “brown” route appears to cut straight through their Grade Two listed building.
The couple, who are helped by their children Lucy (24) and Ben (22), are also concerned the bypass would cause a blight on the surrounding countryside, and have an impact on tourism and local businesses.
Mrs Boothman (54), whose home overlooks around 90 acres of countryside, said: “I have got an awful feeling that they want it so badly, it will go ahead – it is such a mess down North Valley now. But it’s not going to alleviate the situation to the extent they think it is.
“It will be like an artery right through the crown of Pendle.
“It is the waiting that is upsetting me. We need a decision quickly, so then everybody can try to move on.”
And her daughter Lucy added: “The final stage of the B&B was only finished last year, yet all their hard work is to be undone. During the building work the council refused to allow many minor concessions, such as windows that could be seen from the canal, as it was considered that as they were not original they would be out of place. Yet it seems perfectly plausible to construct a whopping great bypass feet from the very same canal.”
In an almost “unbelievable” set of circumstances, this is the second time that the Boothman family have been faced with losing their home. In 1978, Mr Boothman’s family-run business in Silsden was made subject to a Compulsory Purchase Order for the Aire Valley Trunk Road.
Mrs Boothman, who found out about the plans after reading them on the front page of this newspaper, added: “Talk about lightning striking twice – we are devastated.
“We can’t plan anything, we can’t alter things, we just don’t know what we are doing.”
Responding, Marcus Hudson, head of planning for Lancashire County Council, said he hopes people will be reassured that the options shown in the transport masterplan are only indicative.
He added: “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.”