Our dream £500k home will be wrecked by Sizewell C relief road, say couple in despair
- Credit: Archant
It was meant to be their dream home, where they could enjoy their hard-earned retirement surrounded by nothing more than the peaceful, tranquil lands of rural Suffolk.
But today, Graham and Dawn Lacey believe their idyllic dream lies in tatters after the land they specifically chose for its quiet surroundings was earmarked for a major new road.
Quantity surveyor Mr Lacey had already committed to the £800,000 project - which includes land and property costs - to build his own a luxury, traditional five-bedroom country home in glorious open countryside.
But when, to his huge misfortune, he discovered EDF Energy had later proposed to build a major multi-million pound relief road right next door for the planned Sizewell C nuclear power station, he said: "I sat with my head in my hands for an hour. My wife was physically sick.
"We wanted somewhere where all you could hear was the birds signing.
"We decided we would buy our forever home for retirement on the piece of land we purchased, which is now going to be completely destroyed."
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Unable to walk away because of how much money he has already sunk into the project, Mr Lacey is now opposing the road's construction - even though he says: "There will be lots of responses saying we're NIMBYs and the rest of it. We understand that."
The 61-year-old, who currently lives in a mobile home with his wife on the site in Fordley Road, Middleton while the £500,000 house is being built, believes EDF Energy should be focusing on transporting freight by rail rather road.
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He says many other people are adversely affected by the relief road plans - but he also opposes the building of Sizewell C all together, even though EDF Energy says it is crucial to meeting the country's future energy needs at a time when demand for electricity is increasing.
"Our views are that by the time it's built and producing electricity, it will be out of date - whereas wind farms and modern renewables will never be out of date," Mr Lacey said.
An EDF Energy spokesman said representatives from the firm had met with the Laceys, who have moved from Greenstead Green in Essex, to discuss the proposals for the link road.
"At this stage this is one of a number of proposals which are being consulted on," the spokesman added.
"In developing our transport strategy we have aimed to maximise the use of rail while avoiding disruption of existing passenger services, limit the impact of the construction traffic on local roads where possible and mitigate the potential environmental impacts.
"We will continue to assess impacts and appropriate mitigation as we progress the proposals and keep the community updated as plans progress."
There are also laws in place to protect homeowners whose property value deprciates in value due to physical changes which have happened after a Development Consent Order has become operational.
But Mr Lacey said: "When we purchased that piece of land a few years ago, it was surrounded by fields and a little single track lane.
"It took us five years to find this piece of land and the attraction was that it had no neighbours and has 360 degree views across farmland.
"There is no pollution and no light pollution. It is tranquil to the nth degree.
"We moved away from a town environment because my wife suffers badly with asthma.
"Having found somewhere we thought was surrounded by fields, we thought her asthma was likely to be much better.
"But it is only going to get worse because of all the pollution that's going to be created.
"We said this will be the last thing we do and wanted to leave something behind that is what I call a traditional, textbook build."
Of Sizewell C, which is currently going through its fourth round of public consultation, he said: "We hope the whole thing doesn't go ahead but, if it does, we hope they will use a rail-led strategy and not a road one.
"It just adds to their carbon footprint."