Family's rural idyll is under threat from a new road that could make it almost unsellable

After two decades of fast-paced city life in London, Dublin and New York, my wife Michaela and I decided it was time to put down roots and ease up a bit.

On our first viewing, we knew Fir Tree Farm in Suffolk was ideal for raising our daughters, Olivia, 14, Amelie, 13, and Ruby, 11, and so it was that five years ago we moved to the country.

Nestled in several acres with two ponds and woodland, the 17th-century farmhouse gave us the tranquillity we had longed for. 

The Fields paid £685,000 for the house. It was valued at £900,000 before EDF made its plans public. A sale is unrealistic, estate agents told the family, unless they slash the price Paul (pictured) said: 'Fir Tree Farm and the lifestyle it gave us was like wearing a warm, cosy jumper on a crisp, frosty morning' The property (pictured) is so secluded that the family's only neighbours are acres of arable farmland, and on clear nights you can see satellites hurtling through space like shooting stars Last year, the family (pictured) got permission to extend the four-bedroom farmhouse and replace a dilapidated barn so they could provide accommodation for their parents The only pollution is at harvest time, when the family's windowsills get a light covering of dust and they have to remember not to leave washing on the line when the combine harvester is out EDF Energy launched a final consultation on plans to build two nuclear reactors at Sizewell, about eight miles from the Fields' home EDF Energy launched a final consultation on plans to build two nuclear reactors at Sizewell, about eight miles from the Fields' home

EDF Energy launched a final consultation on plans to build two nuclear reactors at Sizewell, about eight miles from the Fields’ home

We assumed there would be a legal remedy. Alas, no. The first opportunity to formally make a compensation claim for blight is when a proposed road has been approved, which, in the case of Sizewell C, is 2021 at the earliest. Until the road gets approved — and even then there could be a long and costly legal process to prove blight — we are stuck with a house worth less than we paid for it, and which fails to meet our needs.

The feeling of having our hands tied behind our back is bad enough, but this helplessness is compounded by EDF rubbing our nose in it.

At a public exhibition, I told Jim Crawford, the project developmet director, of my frustration that EDF had not engaged with me about our situation.

His PR man started laughing, as he waved his arms in the direction of the display boards in the room, saying: ‘What do you think this is? We are engaging with you!’

He smirked when I asked: ‘Why are you laughing? There’s nothing funny about the anxiety EDF is causing my family.’

This is not a story of Nimbyism, nor is it an emotive way to make a case against nuclear fuel. No, after months of trying to appeal to EDF to treat us fairly, this is about how big business can run roughshod over ordinary people like a bulldozer crushing farmland to make way for a new road.

We’ve been struck by how a single event can make you feel as though the walls are falling in around you, and you’re powerless to do anything to stop it.

Mr Crawford says: ‘We are asking the local community what they think of plans for Sizewell C. We have met with Mr Field and other people who could potentially be affected by Sizewell C proposals, with the most recent meeting held last week. We will take on board the feedback we receive and provide appropriate mitigation.’

Read Paul’s blog at: https://sizewellc.org/