HS2: the human cost of Britain’s most expensive ever rail project

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"Prideaux and his wife live in a low-ceilinged farmhouse to which they moved so their son and his family could reside in their spacious old hall. Prideaux was smartly turned out in a blue checked shirt, red tank top and mustard cords, but drove me around his 1,400 acres in a middle-aged Subaru estate with tattered newspapers in the footwell. HS2 will pretty much divide his land down the middle. One of his two tenant farms will cease to be economically viable. He will lose farm buildings and a lodge.

" 'In an estate agent’s patter, it's "a fine rural location" and all that sort of garbage,' he said. The new line will pass shudderingly close to the hall, which is listed as Grade II* – the most protected category of building. 'It's an architectural mix-up of Elizabethan, Jacobean and William & Mary. Everybody’s had a go at it,' he said, which did not really do justice to the gracefully proportioned house. He then added: 'It's one of the three or four most important houses on the line between London and Birmingham'."

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