Stansted 'house price blight' claims
HOUSE prices in the area surrounding Stansted Airport are "in the doldrums", according to campaigners opposed to the proposed expansion. Latest figures released show homes in Uttlesford only increased in value by 1.
HOUSE prices in the area surrounding Stansted Airport are "in the doldrums", according to campaigners opposed to the proposed expansion.
Latest figures released show homes in Uttlesford only increased in value by 1.1% in the last quarter of this year compared to more than 4% across the rest of Essex.
And the Stop Stansted Expansion group claimed that since the original announcement of the airport's proposed expansion in July 2002, Uttlesford house prices have increased at less than half the rate for Essex as whole.
They are calling on BAA, which owns the airport, to compensate local homeowners to the tune of £34,000 per house - equivalent to £690 million for the whole of Uttlesford.
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But Tony Mullucks, a senior partner with Mullucks Wells estate agents which has one of its offices in Stansted Mountfitchet, said the prices had "nothing to do" with the proposed second runway.
Mr Mullucks, who has practiced in the area for 35 years, said: "They have put two and two together and made five.
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"The reason for the difference is that in the majority of Essex the average house prices are lower so it is the lower house prices which have been increasing.
"There are very few transactions in Uttlesford compared to other areas such as South Essex.
"The expansion of the airport is having little or no effect, we have just sold two properties within 500 metres of the new runway."
He also warned homeowners in the area "not to hold their breath" in their battle for compensation.
"It is very difficult to prove a loss when it has not actually happened," he said.
But Peter Sanders, chairman of Stop Stansted Expansion said: "Regardless of whether we ever see a second runway, the problem of blight is a present day reality.
"Many people are facing real problems trying to sell their homes at a sensible price. BAA must now face up to its responsibilities and honour the obligation placed upon it in the Government White Paper."
He claimed property values in the northern part of Uttlesford in postcode areas nearer to the airport figures were much worse than the Uttlesford average.
"We estimate that at least 12,000 homes have lost a significant part of their value due to the threat of major expansion of Stansted.
"We are determined to ensure that BAA faces up to the facts and to its obligations."
A BAA spokesman said, "BAA Stansted is in the middle of analysing the results of a widespread consultation with local people on our voluntary home owner support scheme.
"We expect to make a decision by the end of September on how the scheme will operate. At that time we will inform those most directly affected, we will explain the background to our decision and we will take part in a debate based on the facts.
"What we are not going to do is a pre-empt that announcement by trading statistics, backed up by all sorts of assumptions, from local protest group SSE.
"As usual, they try and play the publicity game, but that takes the serious debate no further forward".