Runway plans 'blight properties'

CAMPAIGNERS against the expansion of Stansted Airport claimed last night £500million had been wiped off property values since the Government announced plans for a second runway.

By Roddy Ashworth

CAMPAIGNERS against the expansion of Stansted Airport claimed last night £500million had been wiped off property values since the Government announced plans for a second runway.

But yesterday the British Aviation Authority (BAA) criticised the calculation, describing it as both "misleading" and "grossly overstated".

The property value claims came as part of a report published by pressure group Stop Stansted Expansion.


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The organisation said its calculations were derived from official house price statistics - maintained by the Land Registry Office - after investigating detailed records for postcode areas.

The group said that although house prices in Uttlesford had increased since the airport plans were published, they had done so at less than half the rate in Essex as a whole, where they have risen 25%.

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The shortfall, campaigners said, represented the equivalent of almost £28,000 for the average home.

And they criticised the BAA, accusing it of attempting to limit compensation to just 500 homes in the immediate vicinity of the proposed second runway.

The group instead claimed that at least 12,000 properties had been adversely affected and that the number could be as high as 19,000, including some in East Hertfordshire.

Norman Mead, chairman of Stop Stansted Expansion, said: ""Whether or not the airport expansion plans ever materialise, the impact on local property prices is a present day reality simply because of the threat of massive airport expansion.

"It's bad enough that BAA threatens to destroy so much of our local heritage and environment - local people should not also be expected to suffer financial loss on the value of their homes.

"People who need to move home or want to move home should not be penalised through no fault of their own."

However, a BAA spokesman dismissed the organisation's claims.

"It is misleading of SSE to attribute the slower rise in house prices to the whole of Uttlesford as closer study of the figures will reveal that any impact is very localised - hence the talk of 'an average reduction in value' of £28,000 per property is grossly overstated," he said.

"The number of properties sold per quarter can easily distort the statistics.

"During a three month period some postcode areas have as few as 26 property sales.

"Uttlesford house price rises in the period June 2002 to December 2003 are broadly consistent with those experienced in the previous 12 months.

"While house prices in Uttlesford haven't risen as fast as the whole of Essex, Uttlesford properties are valued significantly higher than those in the rest of the county."

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