Airport's help for home buyers

OFFICIALS at Stansted airport have today enhanced their reputation as being prepared to help and listen to the community with the relaunch of their property pack for homebuyers.

OFFICIALS at Stansted airport have today enhanced their reputation as being prepared to help and listen to the community with the relaunch of their property pack for homebuyers.

Householders in Suffolk have fiercely criticised the airport because of the increasing noise from planes and the growth of cheap flights, which has led to many more jets flying over the county.

About 1,200 flights go over Suffolk each day - though only a fraction of these are from Stansted.

But with the government's drive to double air travel in the next 20 years and BAA's proposals to expand Stansted, executives claim they feel caught in the middle at times.

In meetings with The Evening Star to discuss our Air Fair campaign, they have been open and frank, willing to listen to concerns, and to take suggestions and ideas on board.

They have constantly stressed they are listening to the public - and want to work with them.

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In its latest move BAA wants to ensure people purchasing properties in the area know what they are buying into - and to make them fully aware of aircraft noise issues.

Vicki Hughes, noise communications manager for Stansted, said the updated property pack was designed to provide the best possible information about the airport's flight operations and future growth plans.

It also features details of arrival and departure flight paths, aircraft noise, development plans and destination maps - all major issues for people considering buying a property near the airport.

“We all know that buying a property can be a very difficult and demanding experience,” she said.

“It's a huge decision and one we all want to get right. Our property pack provides some really useful information that will help inform people about our plans for growth and development as well as our current operations at Stansted.

“To also help potential home buyers and local residents in the area better understand the nature of our operations, we have launched a new noise website.

“This is essentially a 'one stop shop' for noise enquiries and provides the facility for users to log their noise enquiries and complaints on-line, as well as being able to view Stansted aircraft tracks and heights in the local area.”

The packs will be distributed to more than 450 estate agents, building societies, banks, solicitors and libraries within a 30-mile radius of the airport.

Is the noise from growing numbers of planes over Suffolk bothering you? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

FASTFACTS: BAA and the property market

BAA itself is buying up millions of pounds worth of homes at premium prices near Stansted - ready to demolish them to make way for a second runway.

Although no formal plans have yet been submitted for the runway, the company is purchasing houses which would be “blighted” by the development if it goes ahead in years to come.

So far it has bought more than 100 homes, many of them medieval historic thatched and half-timbered cottages or farm buildings, with 18 of them grade two listed properties.

The “land take” will include demolishing 73 homes. Owners of more than two-thirds have now applied to sell to BAA.

BAA says buying the properties gives people a chance to decide early about their future rather than waiting for the possibility of compulsory purchase later.

The properties bought are managed by a separate company and rented out to tenants with agreements that they have to maintain them properly.