Pensioner’s M8 battle set for European rights court

Christina Barrie is fighting on after the death of her husband, William, pictured. Picture: Wattie Cheung
Christina Barrie is fighting on after the death of her husband, William, pictured. Picture: Wattie Cheung
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AN ELDERLY widow is making a last-ditch attempt to save the farmhouse in which she has lived for 45 years from being ­demolished to make way for a motorway expansion.

Christina Barrie, 82, has appealed to the European Court of Human Rights in a final effort to block the bulldozers.

She would be the only person to lose her house for the seven-mile stretch of road, which would finally complete the Glasgow-­Edinburgh M8 route.

Mrs Barrie is in poor health, which her family said had come on top of “added government pressure and bullying tactics”.

The Scottish Government is due to serve Mrs Barrie with a “vesting order” this month which will confirm that the compulsory purchase of the house, near the village of Bargeddie in North Lanarkshire, will go ahead in April.

The pensioner is taking on the battle alone after her husband, William, died earlier this year, aged 89. It is believed the stress of the situation affected Mr Barrie’s health.

Mrs Barrie has lived at Braehead Farm since 1967, from where her husband ran a haulage business for 30 years.

The couple spent much of their savings on an unsuccessful challenge to the scheme at a public inquiry four years ago.

Rod McCrae, a surveyor who represented the couple, told the hearing: “The loss of their property would mean everything to Mr and Ms Barrie. If it was taken away from them, Mr Barrie could well die.”

They were offered £515,000 to move, but said they had been unable to find another seven-bedroom farmhouse in the area that would enable them to remain close to their family.

Michael Shiel, the public inquiry reporter, concluded: “Whilst greatly sympathising with their personal circumstances, I conclude … that there is no realistic alternative to the proposed demolition.

“It is for Scottish ministers to satisfy themselves that confirmation of the scheme and orders would not breach the Human Rights Act 1998.”

The Barries had argued the project would breach their right to “respect for private and family life and home, resulting in significant and injurious harm”.

However, Transport Scotland said the scheme was for the greater good, improving road safety and economic growth.

It is understood Mrs Barrie has been unable to find a lawyer willing to lodge a further appeal against the compulsory purchase order. She has obtained an application to the European Court of Human Rights.

A Transport Scotland spokeswoman said: “We are aware of Mrs Barrie’s recent application to the court and are unable to comment further as this is a legal matter. We are proceeding with securing the land.”

The new motorway would fill the “missing link” in the M8 corridor, replacing the A8 dual carriageway between Baillieston and Newhouse.