I do remember Friends of the Earth trying to use a similar tactic to prevent a road being built across Otmoor in Oxfordshire and getting nowhere.It turns out that the motorway in question was an extension of the M40. And it was not built across Otmoor after all.
Was this due to Friends of the Earth's tactics? The Alice's Meadow website claims it was:
Whatever the truth of this, Alice's Meadow is now a valuable nature reserve. Read more about it in a Daily Telegraph article.
In order to construct the motorway, all the land along the route needed to be compulsorily purchased. In addition, the complete compulsory purchase procedure, (including valuation, identification of the landowner, service of compulsory purchase order, notice period etc; and all possible stages of appeal) needed to be followed for each individual plot of land.
With each appeal having the potential for being a re-run of the original enquiry (which it had already lost) this was intended to make the compulsory purchase of the 3,500 plots of Alice's Meadow a very unattractive prospect for the government.
To further frustrate the development, the purchasers of the campaign plots were encouraged to subdivide and sell on their land. This greatly increased the total number of plots, and therefore the difficulty in contacting and dealing with the landowners - many of whom lived abroad.
In December 1984, just over a year after Alice's Meadow was sold off, the government began it's U-turn, announcing that although the motorway was needed, the route would have to be looked at again. Just 11 months later, in November 1985, the government's preferred route was withdrawn, and a version of the objector's route, which had been recommended by the 1982/3 inquiry was adopted. The battle to save Otmoor had been won.