Cruel twist of fate for former Steeton man

Keighley News: Stephen Boothman and his wife, Rachel, at the family farm faced with being bulldozed Stephen Boothman and his wife, Rachel, at the family farm faced with being bulldozed

A former Steeton man whose family farm was bulldozed to make way for the Aire Valley Trunk Road is facing a similar nightmare three decades on.

Stephen Boothman had to vacate Bridge Farm, which his family had occupied for about ten years, in 1979 when it was compulsorily purchased.

The farm stood close to what is now the Steeton/Silsden roundabout on the dual carriageway.

Mr Boothman moved to Colne, where – in a twist-of-fate horror – he and his family are now facing losing their luxury home to make way for a by-pass.

A proposed route for the new road cuts through he and his wife Rachel’s Grade II listed bed-and-breakfast business, at Blakey Hall Farm in Colne.

“I can’t believe it’s happening again,” said Mr Boothman, 59.

“We’ve built up a nice business here and it’s our livelihood. It’s too late in life to be starting all over again.”

Before moving to Steeton, he grew up on Low House Farm in Silsden, which has also since been demolished.

Mrs Boothman said she, her husband and their two children – Lucy 24, and Ben, 22 – were now facing an anxious wait to discover if the business they have invested “everything” in during the past 30-plus years will be forced to close.

“We have clung on with our fingernails at times, and now it could all be snatched away from us,” she said “What do we do? Where do we go? It’s heartbreaking.

“We have put our pensions and all the money we have into building this business up, yet they think they can just take it all away from us.

“It’s going to drag on now before we hear anything. We can’t plan for the future, we can’t expand, we can’t invest because we don’t know what the future holds.”

Lancashire County Council said the by-pass plan was at a very early stage and may not come to fruition.

Head of planning Marcus Hudson added: “I hope people will be reassured the options shown in the transport masterplan are only indicative.”

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