New runway would destory rich heritage

By Roddy AshworthA PRESERVATION group has warned the proposed expansion of Stansted Airport would lead to the destruction of historic buildings and sites on an “unprecedented scale”.

By Roddy Ashworth

A PRESERVATION group has warned the proposed expansion of Stansted Airport would lead to the destruction of historic buildings and sites on an “unprecedented scale”.

But a spokesman for the airport said where possible, important listed properties would be dismantled and rebuilt outside the new boundaries.

The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings said in choosing Stansted Airport for the first phase of airport expansion in the South-East, the Government had chosen the option that would cause the maximum damage to the country's heritage.

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It warned allowing a new runway to be built at the Essex airport would lead to the destruction of 29 listed buildings and two scheduled monuments - Waltham Manor and The Grange.

A society spokesman said: “Though the precise siting of the runway will be up to the airport operator, the Government recognises that it will severely damage the historic environment.

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“The area around Stansted is rich in architectural history, including small historic villages. Merely stating that these characteristics should be preserved as much as possible is meaningless in the light of the widespread development that will follow the airport's expansion.”

English Heritage chief executive, Simon Thurley, echoed the society's view and warned: “The expansion of Stansted will have a serious effect on local heritage.

“This will be directly through the loss of historic buildings and archaeology, but also indirectly and in the longer term through the loss of overall amenity of historic towns and villages.

“The damage will not just be caused by the new runway itself, but also by the associated infrastructure and development.”

He added: “We remain concerned about the apparent absence of systematic measures to manage demand for future air travel.

“We will continue to press for the maximum protection possible. Heritage is not just about visible buildings and scheduled monuments, but also the whole of the historic landscape and buried archaeology.”

A Stansted Airport spokesman said dismantling and rebuilding was an option for some of the buildings.

“When the original terminal was built, nine buildings were dismantled and reassembled,” he added.

“It is too early to be precise about what will happen. But where possible, and where required, we will look at moving listed properties. That is a clear and stated intention.

“It is still not 100% certain what the exact land take will be, but the hard work has now begun in terms of the detail.”

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