Staff at a Staffordshire-based Border Collie rescue are appealing for funds so they can relocate and rebuild after construction plans for the HS2 rail line were revealed.
The Border Collie Trust has been a registered charity since 1996, helping to rehome around 400 to 500 dogs a year. It was set up thanks to the work of Hazel Monk who began helping the breed in 1976 when it was recognised by the Kennel Club. Hazel passed away in 1992 but her work still goes on.
Thanks to a fundraising appeal in 1997, the charity was able to set up its own centre after purchasing boarding kennels near Rugeley. The 4.5 acres of countryside was an ideal setting and through the work of trustees, volunteers and supporters, the site was redeveloped. Over the next decade, new kennels were constructed to cater for the dogs in their care, including a rescue block, boarding block and special needs block. By 2012 it was a centre everyone could be proud of.
But just a year later the first plans of the HS2 were revealed. It was clear that it would have a major impact on the surrounding area, but at the time there seemed to be little loss to the BCT’s property.
Early last year it became apparent that the scheme had been amended to have a significant impact on the centre. The plans show the BCT will lose a third of its land and that Moor Lane is to be rerouted through their paddock area, meaning they will not be able to exercise the dogs.
In an article by the charity, they said, “The impact upon the property and the dogs in our care makes the location no longer suitable for our work.
“The Bill is before Parliament, there is an expectation that it will become an Act and the scheme will commence in about two years’ time.
“Trustees have come to the difficult decision that our only alternative is to seek a new site where we can start again. In view of the situation we will be seeking an advance sale of the property to HS2 and negotiate suitable terms and compensation. There is no guarantee at this stage of that outcome, the process will incur expenses and costs to rebuild and replicate facilities at a new location which meets the needs of BCTGB in the long term.
“We have to focus on the achievements of the last 21 years, and with the experience they have brought us we view this as an incredible opportunity to bring that experience and knowledge to create an even better centre for the care of Border Collies.”
The charity is asking for supporters to help towards their HS2 Rebuild Fund, details of which can be found on their website or by calling 01889 577058.
A Blight Notice has been served on HS2 and the charity awaits their decision on whether developers agree to purchase the property.