Ilkeston pensioner’s battle with HS2 rail line

Betty Bishton who's life is on hold until she can resolve her issues with HS2
Betty Bishton who's life is on hold until she can resolve her issues with HS2

An Ilkeston pensioner is pleading with the Government to hurry up and buy her home.

Betty Bishton, 79, wants to leave her house in Stanton Gate, which was earmarked for demolition to make way for the HS2 rail route.

But the Department for Transport is now planning to let out Betty’s home and is asking for a series of jobs to be done at the house before the sale can be completed.

Betty, who has a bungalow in Ilkeston lined up, is afraid the chance of a new home will fall through if the sale of her house takes too long.

She said: “They want me to do this, that and the other – they’ve already knocked £10,000 off the value for repairs to the property. We thought it was going to be demolished so we didn’t spend any money on it.

“Now they want to let it and a young lady came round and she wanted this and that doing. I wasn’t very happy about it. We’re trying to get the site cleared as much as we can. She wants everything clearing out of the house – I can do that, I’ve got boxes which have been packed for months. It’s been stressful – it has been full-on and then they come along with more of what they want me to do. If they keep stressing me out like this, I won’t make my 80th birthday.”

Betty moved into her home with her husband, Dick, 12 years ago, but in 2014, the couple were informed HS2 would be sited straight through their home.

Two years ago, Dick passed away after losing his third battle with cancer.

Now Betty – who has herself survived cancer twice – is urging the Department for Transport to speed up the process of buying her house so she can get on with her life. Betty added: “I just want to get out and live the rest of my life in peace. HS2 are paying for removals and solicitors fees, but my solicitor has been ringing them and they are not coming back to her. It’s just taking so much time and I don’t want to lose this bungalow.”

A spokesman for HS2 said: “We understand people are concerned and we are committed to being a good neighbour to anyone affected by the construction of HS2. We appreciate that every situation is unique and have set up a package of property schemes, including the chance for eligible property owners to sell their homes at their full unblighted market value, well ahead of the start of construction. HS2 will deliver major benefits to the East Midlands. It is becoming integral to local plans to drive business growth, create jobs and secure investment in the area years before it arrives.”