With the announcement by BAA this week that they are withdrawing their plans to build a second runway at Stansted airport one thing that will now fly high, if not more planes, is house prices locally.
Since the first word in 2002 that a further slice of the North Essex countryside was to be potentially gashed open to make way for millions of tonnes of concrete landing pad, values have understandably sufferered rather.
Despite there being an uncertainty over stalled consultations and planning application outcomes, the very will of the mighty BAA to turn Stansted into something bigger than Heathrow, enthusiastically supported by the previous Government, has understandably affected the desirability of this quaint rural area. Takeley, Great Easton and the like have all sat in property market limbo as the result of the effect of the threat of a second runway, its additional buildings and proposed car parking facilities for 85,000 cars.
BAA recognised the inevitable mill stone that it was placing around the necks of Stansted homeowners by unveiling a scheme in 2004 to compensate those that were deemed to be in the ’66db’ noise zone of the additional runway.
Since then it has spent around £110 million buying cottages, barn conversions and the like, roses around the doors and all, as part of that scheme. It has ended up with a significant portolio.
It may have wasted another £80 million on costs in advancing its proposals over the past eight years, however we think that the properties bought will return BAA a tidy profit to offset this, now that the spectre of an extra 300,00 flights a year in and out of the area has been exorcised.
Fair play to the members of the Stop Stansted Expansion campaign whose efforts undoubtedly disrupted things well enough to delay matters sufficiently for the new Government to ensure that the BAA plans were ditched (pun intended), of which both coalition parties were always opposed to this increase in capacity.
May the values of the SSE members’ homes rise untold now and so reward them for their persistence.