Takeley Parish Council is extremely concerned that BAA has failed to consider the social implications resulting from this scheme, which creates a divided Takeley community. There is to be no compensation, only support for those inside the 66 dBA (16 hour) Leq noise contour line from a ‘HOSS’, but for those outside – nothing ! Nowhere is there recognition for the blight to be suffered by the majority of residents in Takeley or to the deterioration in their quality of life.
As this scheme stands, half the village will be within the 66 decibel noise contour area and half the village outside. Approximately 390 properties and 120 mobile homes are excluded from the scheme.
The methodology for defining the areas for inclusion relates solely to the 66 decibel noise contour line and takes no account of the social consequences of a divided community.
The ‘HOSS’ offers an exit route to those individuals who live within this predicted noise contour line, but there must be an indisputable case for everybody in the parish of Takeley to qualify for this offer as the character, environment and social dynamics of the village will be changed dramatically, beyond recognition.
The scheme is essentially unfair and the rationale that BAA has used to safeguard the ‘loss of community’ in Bambers Green has been ignored in relation to the larger, more populated areas of the parish of Takeley.
Takeley Parish Council finds the proposed scheme socially divisive, unfair and deeply flawed.
The exceptional inclusion of Bambers Green in the ‘Home Value Guarantee Scheme’ (HVGS) can now clearly be seen as a strategy to ensure that all land for a possible four runway expansion is acquired. It puts the ‘loss of community’ argument for the inclusion of Bambers Green properties in the ‘HVGS’ into true perspective.
The parish of Takeley is a community with both a church and a chapel, 3 public houses, 3 schools, a sports and social club, community centre, football club, 2 cricket clubs, youth and other organisations. This is a community with a strong identity. The ‘HOSS’ needs to reflect that there is a strong and active community within the parish. The scheme under consultation, set at 66 decibels, will cause division and bad feeling between individual sections of the community and even between neighbours. This will devalue BAA Stansted's attempts to improve relations with the local community.
Uttlesford is an affluent area and the parish of Takeley is no exception. Takeley is within an area of low ambient background noise and, therefore, any aircraft noise is much more apparent than in an urban area. The ‘HOSS’ needs to recognise this fact. Research 3 has shown that people living in affluent areas, with low ambient background noise, react more to noise disturbance than people living in other areas. Residents of Takeley expect to enjoy their environment including being able to keep windows open day and night and engage in recreational activities.
For those who have lived in Takeley for many years, and have chosen to live in a quiet rural area, double glazing is not the answer as this only protects the interior of a building. Residents should be given the opportunity to move away from the area without financial penalty. Future occupiers of these properties will not have the same expectations of environment and life style as those who have lived here for some time.
Expansion proposals will not only destroy the rural areas of the parish but divide and devastate the culture and community of the remaining areas. At present the ‘HOSS’ offers no compensation and does not acknowledge any social responsibility for the expansion proposals and the division and destruction it will bring to the local community. It would appear that BAA has a selective understanding of the true notion of ‘community’ and social dynamics. The White Paper clearly states (11.41) that ‘the airport operator will need to put in place a scheme to address the problem of generalised blight resulting from the runway proposal’.
Takeley Parish Council recommends that the boundary of the 66 decibel noise contour line be expanded for all blighted communities to 60 decibels.
The ‘HOSS’ would then include the majority of properties in the parish of Takeley, and should further include the ‘exceptional cases’ of properties within the community that are just outside the boundary, as already agreed to safeguard the community at Bambers Green.
BAA have made exceptions in the past where new boundaries have had to be introduced. In particular, additional houses outside of the published contour line were compensated in the ‘phase one’ loss of value scheme in the 1990's; the recent ‘noise home insulation’ scheme was extended to avoid the unfair treatment of properties in close proximity but outside the revised noise boundary and the recent extension of the ‘HVGS’ to 33 properties in Bambers Green and Molehill Green in order to treat the community equally and fairly. Precedents have clearly been set.
If BAA accept the ‘same distance criteria’ for Bambers Green, to safeguard communities just outside the 66 decibel contour line, then most blighted properties would be included.