House prices hit by airport growth

HOUSE prices in the area surrounding Stansted Airport have been blighted by more than £600million since expansion plans were announced, it was claimed yesterday.

HOUSE prices in the area surrounding Stansted Airport have been blighted by more than £600million since expansion plans were announced, it was claimed yesterday.

The Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) campaign said homeowners in Uttlesford district had suffered an average loss of £30,000 compared to price increases across the rest of Essex.

But while airport operator BAA is considering compensation for about 500 homes directly affected by the proposed second runway, the campaign group maintains about 12,000 homes have suffered.

But BAA, which also uses the Government's Land Registry figures as the basis of its compensation scheme, criticised the comments as "sweeping statements based on selective statistics".

Members of the campaign said owners of all types of homes had lost out in the past three years, claiming prices in Uttlesford had only risen by 24.6% since July 2002, compared to an increase of 38.5% across the county.

Peter Sanders, chairman of SSE said: "We hear so many claims from BAA about the economic benefits of the airport but here we have a clear economic cost of £635 million to local homeowners.

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"Coming on top of the report earlier this month that air travel cost the UK economy a £15billion balance of payments deficit last year, one begins to wonder whether there is any net economic benefit, other than to BAA itself."

SSE said the 12,000 homes adversely affected by airport-related blight were mostly in the six CM postcode areas around the airport in the southern part of Uttlesford.

But Mark Pendlington, director of communications for BAA Stansted, said: "Old habits clearly die hard as far as SSE is concerned - yet again we have sweeping statements based on selective statistics that add up to no firm conclusion.

"All this kind of publicity achieves is to further damage the property market that is already under pressure nationally for a whole host of reasons completely unrelated to airport development.

"This scare-mongering must stop and SSE should join us in the real world where millions of people want to travel at affordable prices and where Stansted is widely applauded for helping to underpin the local and regional economy."

Tony Mullucks, a senior partner with Mullucks Wells estate agents, which has an office in Stansted Mountfitchet, said he agreed with some of SSE's argument.

"Houses that are difficult to sell are those immediately around the area of the possible second runway, but others are selling.

"But in Uttlesford it is only a very small part which is being affected by the airport – quite a few people are moving into the area to be within a reasonable distance of the airport.

"The area affected is close to the would-be second runway and at either end – but, outside that, houses have been selling in villages such as Takeley, the Eastons – all of which are not a million miles away."

He added the housing market had slumped across the country, with final selling prices dropping by five to 10% in the past year.

n William Chastell, 70, and his son Rob took to their bikes last Sunday to cycle 106 miles round the six Essex villages with the name Tye Green to raise over £350 for Stop Stansted Expansion's fighting fund.

William, from Broxbourne, completed the circular ride in just 10 hours with the start and finish point being the Elsenham Tye Green, which is threatened with "possible destruction" by proposals for a second runway at Stansted Airport.

The route passed through Tye Greens in Harlow, Good Easter, Stock Cressing and Wimbish.

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