Impacts of the proposed HS2 Phase 2a scheme upon Blithbury Reindeer Lodge
We would be grateful if you would take the time to read the following to give you a background into our beautiful, unique Reindeer Lodge in the heart of rural Staffordshire and the potential effects of the proposed scheme for HS2 Phase 2a.
Following the publication of the working draft Environmental Impact Assessment for Phase 2a, it is clear that the proposed route of Phase 2a will cause a large amount disruption and adversely affect our environment, livestock and business.
We are a working reindeer farm, visitor attraction and educational facility. During the 8 week run up to Christmas the proposed construction works would severely affect the business as access to the farm is only possible via the B5014, which is scheduled to be re-located. If the farm is inaccessible or there is a traffic management in place due to the proposed scheme, then our business would be extinguished.
The potential loss of land required by the proposed scheme would also be critical to the future for Blithbury Reindeer Lodge. Our livestock use all the paddock land we currently own and the paddocks are grazed in rotation. The proposed works will take much needed land from Blithbury Reindeer Lodge.
We are unable to consider re-locating Blithbury Reindeer Lodge. This would mean not only re-locating the lodge, but relocating a home, farm and all the livestock; which many people have worked so hard to create, develop and maintain over the years.
Closure would be the only option, but leave us with an ethical dilemma, it would simply not be possible to re-home over 200 reindeer. Reindeer have a complex herd structure and recognise their ‘home’ grazing land.
The Government, its representatives, the Select Committee, the Minister for Transport and HS2 would ultimately therefore be responsible for the fate of over 200 healthy reindeer.
We have therefore requested that HS2 consider that the proposed trackway, turning area, pond and habitat creation be located elsewhere to allow the continuation of Blithbury Reindeer Lodge as a working farm and visitor attraction.
On a personal note, I am 66 years old and would like to live the rest of my life in the unique, beautiful, peaceful surroundings I have created, with my partner and my beloved reindeer herd.
The farm has been left in trust to allow it to continue to educate and entertain people when I am no longer here. I would like to be remembered for a good thing, rather than a bad thing.
We sincerely hope that we will be able to engage with HS2 and suggest that there is an alternative location available in the area for the purposes required, which would have no direct impact on our animals or Blithbury Reindeer Lodge as a popular visitor attraction.
If you would like to support Blithbury Reindeer Lodge please click on the link below to sign our petition to save this beautiful, award winning visitor attraction, educational facility and working farm.
Thank you for your help and support
Mr S Swinnerton – The Reindeer Man
Thank you for taking the time to read this and we greatly appreciate your support.
Mr Stephen J Swinnerton
Owner and Director of Blithbury Reindeer Lodge
New House Farm, Uttoxeter Road, Blithbury, Rugeley, Staffordshire. WS15 3HY