Homeowners in Yoxford, Darsham and Eastbridge who claim Sizewell C has wiped up to £100k from the value of their home pursue legal action
07:00 03 November 2014
Homeowners in east Suffolk who claim the spectre of Sizewell C has wiped up to £100,000 off their property values have met with an international lawyer to plan their legal bid for compensation.
Sonja Venturi, a specialist in human rights, said she had been touched by the moving stories told by the meeting’s attendees and she would be further investigating the matter with UK colleagues and partners.
The property owners’ complaints include the impact of EDF Energy’s proposed park and ride in Darsham, the accommodation block for 3,000 workers near Theberton or Leiston and the construction transport route from the A12 in Yoxford along the B1122.
Although EDF claims the proposals have yet to be finalised through the consultation process, the homeowners say they are already suffering the impact of those plans as if they are a reality.
Janet Baxter, 79, said her home between Theberton and Eastbridge, was on the market for almost two years before it sold for £100,000 less than it had been valued at in 2012.
She said she had been relying on the proceeds to support her in later life, and is adamant its devaluation is linked with the proposal to build a workers’ accommodation block nearby.
“It’s been awful,” she said. “I’ve had three agents and it’s been on the market for almost two years during which time people have booked appointments and then found out about Sizewell and cancelled.
“I’m not really the sort of person to be waving banners around and protesting but I feel quite strongly about this as they’ve lost me a heck of a lot of money.”
A retired couple from Yoxford, who did not want to be named, attended the meeting having faced similar problems selling their home, which they blame on the proposal for the B1122 to be used as Sizewell C’s main route for construction traffic.
They were eager to downsize and move closer to family as their mortgage is becoming too much for them in retirement. Having failed to sell they are now concerned they might lose the property when the mortgage comes us for renegotiation next year.
“While this is up in the air no one is willing to take the risk of buying a house here and so we are left on hold as prisoners in our homes and in the worst case we could lost the property,” said the husband.
Leonora Van Gils, who hosted the meeting, after her property in Darsham devalued following the announcement that a park and ride had been planned for the village, said she was pleased with its outcome.
“It was an extraordinary evening,” she said. “Right up until now I have felt very alone and unsupported, then these strangers arrived in my house, and together I think we all left with a little bit more hope and for me this was very encouraging.
“I felt like it has almost been a calling for me to start this group and help find answers for these people.”
An EDF spokesman said the company was aware of residents’ concerns and would be working with the local community to put appropriate mitigation measures in place as it developed more detailed plans for stage two of its consultation.
The Department for Energy and Climate Change said local people can have their say in any large infrastructure – in this case by contacting EDF.
Anyone who believes Sizewell C has prevented the sale of their home is invited to contact Ms Van Gils before the group’s next meeting on November 21. Call 01728 668404.