23rd August 2005

Cost of airport blight now exceeds £600 million

The cost of airport-related housing blight resulting from plans to expand Stansted since they were first announced in July 2002 now averages £30,216 for each Uttlesford homeowner and totals £635 million across Uttlesford District as a whole according to analysis taken from the latest Government Land Registry house price statistics [see Note 1].

House prices in Uttlesford have lagged well behind the rest of the market over the past three years and the owners of all kinds of homes have lost out. Overall, Uttlesford values have risen 24.6% since July 2002 whereas for Essex as a whole the increase has been 38.5%. Detached homes have been worst affected, with an average shortfall of £44,025 per property. For the owners of semi-detached homes the average shortfall is £17,279. For terraced homes the shortfall is £14,190 and for flats and maisonettes £12,453.

The significance of these comparisons with the Land Registry house price index for Essex from July 2002 is underlined because this is the basis used by BAA, the operator of Stansted Airport, for calculating homeowner compensation when offering to buy properties near the airport.

However, BAA is only prepared to consider compensation for about 500 homes in the immediate vicinity of the airport despite the clear and continuing evidence from the Land Registry that the number of homes affected is far higher than this, at around the 12,000 mark. The Government’s Air Transport White Paper placed an obligation upon BAA to compensate homeowners for the impact of generalised blight.

Not all homes in the district are affected to the same degree. While house prices in the northern part of the district (those with CB postcodes [see Note 2]) have just about kept pace with the market over the past three years, it is a different picture across the southern part of Uttlesford where prices have generally suffered worse than Uttlesford’s average.

The 12,000 homes adversely affected by airport-related blight are mostly in the six CM postcode areas around the airport in the southern part of Uttlesford [see Note 3] but a limited number of properties in adjacent postcode areas, including some in East Herts District, are also affected.

Commenting on these latest figures, Peter Sanders, Chairman of Stop Stansted Expansion 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. Coming on top of the report earlier this month that air travel cost the UK economy a £15 billion balance of payments deficit last year, one begins to wonder whether there is any net economic benefit, other than to BAA itself.”

NOTES

Note 1:  The Land Registry records all house prices in England & Wales and publishes a quarterly report showing average prices by region, county, district and postcode area. The Land Registry also publishes average prices by type of house for detached, semi-detached and terraced houses and for flats/maisonettes.

Note 2:   The four CB postcodes covering the northern part of Uttlesford are:
CB10 1 – includes Saffron Walden (part) and The Chesterfords
CB10 2 – includes The Sampfords, Radwinter, Wimbish, Ashdon and Hempstead
CB11 3 – includes Newport, Quendon, Rickling, Wicken Bonhunt, Debden and Widdington
CB11 4 – includes Saffron Walden (part) Clavering, Arkesden, Elmdon and Wendens Ambo

Note 3:  The six CM postcodes covering the southern part of Uttlesford are:
CM22 6 – includes Ugley, Henham, Elsenham and Takeley, including BAA’s HOSS area
CM22 7 – includes The Hallingburys, Hatfield Heath, Hatfield Broad Oak and Sheering
CM24 8 – includes Stansted Mountfitchet and Burton End
CM6 1 – includes SW Dunmow, Barnston, the Canfields and the Rodings
CM6 2 – includes Thaxted, Broxted, the Eastons, Duton Hill and Tilty
CM6 3 – includes East Dunmow, Stebbing, Felsted and Lindsell

Campaigning against proposals to expand Stansted Airport