Stansted opens consultation on home owner support
(press release issued 26 February 2004 by BAA)
Communities close to Stansted Airport are to be asked for their views on how the airport can best help some 500 home owners whose property values might be seriously affected by a second runway.
While a new runway is not due to open before 2012, BAA Stansted is volunteering to bring forward a compensation scheme to help home owners closest to the proposed new runway, because statutory compensation for such home owners will not kick in until 2013 – a year after the runway opens.
Stansted's Managing Director, Terry Morgan, said in launching the consultation: "Nine years is a long time to wait for people who need to move, but whose property value is seriously affected. I want to give these people the chance to sell and move, if that's what they need to do.
"Through this consultation, we want to find out what the community thinks about the best way of providing support to these home owners. We are consulting on two possible schemes, both of which in effect make BAA Stansted the home-buyer of last resort.
"We don't want to be a major residential landlord, but if we can bring some reassurance to home owners and confidence into the local housing market by being the buyer of last resort, then we are prepared to do it.
"It would be our intention to sell any properties we buy under this scheme back into the market as soon as possible."
BAA Stansted's Home Owner Support Scheme will be based on one of two existing voluntary compensation schemes, and the consultation asks which of these is the most appropriate.
The first option is an Assisted Relocation Scheme, based on the scheme run for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link development. Under this option, BAA Stansted would offer to buy eligible properties, within a defined boundary, if their value has been reduced by 15% or more as a result of proposals to develop a new runway.
The second option is a Property Protection Scheme, based on a scheme run by Central Railways. Under this option, BAA Stansted would offer a fully-transferable, legally-binding guarantee, exercisable once planning permission has been granted for the second runway.
The main difference between the schemes is that under the Assisted Relocation Scheme BAA Stansted would offer to buy eligible homes at any time, while under the Property Protection Scheme the offer to buy is not made until after planning permission is granted.
The consultation also explains who would be covered by the scheme. As with the Channel Tunnel Rail Link and Central Railways schemes, BAA Stansted will use a boundary defined by a 66 decibel* ‘noise contour’ to determine which properties will be covered by the scheme.
BAA Stansted believes that the scheme will cost tens of millions of pounds, but the actual cost depends on a number of factors, including the number of home owners who take it up and the price of their property.
The consultation document has been sent to a number of local parish councils, Uttlesford District Council (and ward councillors), Essex County Council (and ward councillors), and other property and community groups.
The closing date for responses to the consultation is April 30, 2004, and the scheme is expected to be operational by 1 August 2004.
Notes to Editors:
* 66 decibels is about the same level of noise as is heard from a car passing 23 feet away at 38mph.
Stansted consultation Helpline 0800 496 0199