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High speed rail will 'ruin' disabled couple's home

A COUPLE who campaigned for disabled people's rights have invited Lord Adonis to visit them in their specially-adapted home to see how close a proposed high-speed rail link would be.

adam thomas

A COUPLE who campaigned for disabled people's rights have invited Lord Ad onis to visit them in their specially-adapted home to see how close a proposed high-speed rail link would be.

Wheelchair user Adam Thomas, and his wife Agnes Fletcher of Cudsons Court, Hyde End, said they fear losing their dream home, which is just metres from the proposed HS2 route announced last month.

The couple, who met 15 years ago when they were both handcuffed to London buses while campaigning for The Disability Discrimination Act, said they would not rule out taking direct action again to stop the railway in its tracks.

Mr Thomas, 46, said: "I would like Lord Adonis to come down and meet us. I think until he meets the civilians and sees what it's going to do, I think he's going to have a lot of sleepless nights if he knew the damage it has caused us."

Mr Thomas, a kitchen designer, was paralysed in a motorcycle accident when he was 17-years-old. He grew up in Amersham and remembers playing on the site of his current home when it was a derelict barn.

They saved for seven years to buy a property and then spent around £150,000 to make it wheelchair friendly – money they fear they will not recover if their property is bought at market value.

Mr Thomas gave up work for five years to volunteer as co-ordinator of the Rights Now campaign in the early 1990s. He added: "We were so lucky to find this place. There are so few accessible properties in Buckinghamshire.

"Although I had to pay the builders extra, as I came from a design background, I was able to design it how I wanted with totally level thresholds, a kitchen that is accessible and basins that are lowered. I knew I wouldn't get that money back but I saw it as an investment. I really did think I would come out of here in a box."

Mr Thomas also injured a lung in the collision and fears he will be unable to live in his home if dust is created during the construction works of the line, which is around 35 yards from their garden.

The couple have a six-month old daughter, Cara, who was born 10 weeks prematurely and spent the first six-and-a-half weeks of her life in hospital. Mrs Fletcher, 42, who has a curvature of the spine and osteoarthritis in her hips, said: "It has been hard but Cara is doing fine now. Within weeks of the doctors telling us that, we had this news."

The family now plan to offer their experience of campaigning by joining opponents in the fight against the high speed line.

 

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