Farmer at Stansted still awaiting compensation, due to airport loophole of not completing all work – to avoid paying
A farm owner who won £1 million from Stansted, because planes flying over his £2 million home slashed its value in half, is still waiting for the pay-out 17 years later. Patrick Streeter, whose home is about 1.5 km from the end of the runway, was awarded the sum in 1999 but claims Stansted are using a wily “legal loophole”, which says the money needs to be paid only once all work is finished on the airport. Because white lines have not been painted on a strip of airport apron, (presumably deliberately …) and a fuel pump has not been installed, Stansted has told Mr Streeter that he is not entitled to his pay-out yet. He says the constant din of planes makes the place unbearable to live in, and he believes it would be almost impossible to sell. Mr Streeter’s family home, a 13th century seven-bedroom farmhouse in Great Hallingbury, shakes so badly when planes take off that roof tiles are dislodged. “When we are sitting in the garden your coffee cup will wobble. The cargo planes are the worst.” The airport is legally obliged to pay people living around it compensation because of the detrimental impact of the noise. Mr Streeter is now considering suing the airport . A Stansted spokesman said: “We are aware of Mr Streeter’s application and the matter is being consulted by MAG (the airport’s owner).”
Farmer awarded £1m noise compensation from Stansted airport still waiting for pay-out 17 years later… as white lines haven’t been finished
By Lexi Finnigan (Telegraph)
10 MAY 2016
A farm owner who won £1 million from Stansted because planes flying over his £2 million home slashed its value in half is still waiting for the pay-out 17 years later.
Patrick Streeter was awarded the sum in 1999 but claims airport bosses are using a “legal loophole”, which says the money needs to be paid only once all work is finished on the airport.
Mr Streeter claims airport chiefs have told him that because white lines have not been painted on a strip of airport apron, and a fuel pump has not been installed, he is not entitled to his pay-out yet.
Mr Streeter claims the constant buzz of planes makes the place unbearable to live in, and believes it would be almost impossible to sell
Since 1999, the number of passengers visiting the airport has increased from just over nine million to 26 million expected this year.
Patrick, 69, said: “One of their clever lawyers saw a loophole and realised that if the work isn’t finished they don’t have to pay out.
“They’ve got round it by not quite completing an area where the aeroplanes are parked.
“It’s 95% completed but they haven’t painted white lines and installed a petrol pump so they won’t pay out.
“Originally they agreed to pay my family £1 million because of the impact the planes have.
“It’s a big house and if it was in an area where there are no planes it would be worth £2 million.
“But because of the noise and fumes it has halved in value.
“They owe us this money but they’re evasive actions have meant we haven’t had a penny.”
Mr Streeter’s family home, a 13th century seven-bedroom farmhouse in Great Hallingbury, Essex, is just 1,500m from the end of a Stansted runway and shakes so badly when planes take off that roof tiles are dislodged.
He claims the constant buzz of planes makes the place unbearable to live in, and believes it would be almost impossible to sell.
The working farm is operated by Mr Streeter’s twin nephews Tom and Will, both 41, who mainly farm rape seed and corn over its 1,000 acres.
“When we are sitting in the garden your coffee cup will wobble. The cargo planes are the worst” Patrick Streeter
Tom is the farm’s manager and lives in the historic building with his wife Emma and their two daughters, while Mr Streeter lives 15 minutes away.
He said: “It is frustrating. When we are sitting in the garden your coffee cup will wobble. The cargo planes are the worst.
“They wake up my kids at 1am sometimes.
The airport is legally obliged to pay people living around it compensation because of the detrimental impact the planes have on their lives.
And Mr Streeter is now considering suing the airport for his compensation and has prepared a plan of the airport with incomplete work labelled and a graph showing passenger movements.
A Stansted Airport spokesman said: “We are aware of Mr Streeter’s application and the matter is being consulted by MAG (the airport’s owner).”
See MUCH earlier – in 2004:
BAA SLASHES HOMEOWNER COMPENSATION BUDGET
24.5.2004 (SSE press release)
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has written to BAA to seek a full explanation for the airport operator’s decision to dramatically reduce the estimated compensation costs for its airport expansion proposals.
The cut was announced last week when Mike Clasper, BAA Chief Executive, presented the company’s annual results, showing profits increasing to £539 million. At the same time, Mike Clasper also announced that BAA was putting aside “up to £100 million” to compensate people who would lose their homes or have their value eroded by plans to build a second runway at Stansted. [Note 1]
BAA had previously told the Government in May last year that Stansted compensation costs would total £250 million. [Note 2]
“BAA is becoming increasingly desperate in its attempt to cut costs,” said Norman Mead, Chairman of Stop Stansted Expansion, who continued: “We all know that BAA has a fundamental problem with the commercial viability of a second Stansted runway and this problem has been compounded by the Civil Aviation Authority’s ruling that there must be no cross-subsidy from Heathrow or Gatwick.”
Mr Mead added: “This attempt by BAA to reduce its compensation fund from £250 million to £100 million is not surprising and we expect further cost cutting attempts in future. However, if BAA thinks it would be able to expand Stansted ‘on the cheap’ and at the expense of local homeowners, then yet again it has misjudged this local community. The people of this area are not a soft touch.”
Earlier this month, SSE published a special report, which showed that local homeowners had already lost an average of £28,000 as a result of BAA’s expansion proposals for Stansted. The report slated BAA for seeking to limit compensation to only 500 homeowners whereas the official Land Registry statistics clearly indicated that at least 12,000 properties had been devalued. [Note 3]
BAA is under intense pressure from its investors and from its biggest Stansted customer Ryanair (which accounts for almost 70% of Stansted’s business) to minimise the cost of expanding Stansted and the airport operator is concerned that the low cost carriers may refuse to pay the higher charges that would be needed to fund major expansion of the airport. [Note 4]
Although BAA profits increased to £539 million last year, profits at Stansted fell by 9.3% to £39 million while Heathrow’s profits increased to £364 million. Once again, Stansted was the least profitable, per passenger, of BAA’s seven UK airports.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
BAA annual results were announced on 18 May 2004 and reported in the financial press on 19 May 2004, including Clasper’s comment on Stansted compensation costs – for example, article in Daily Telegraph Business Section: “BAA offers £100m as homes face bulldozer”. Full article is available athttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=%2Fmoney%2F2004%2F05%2F19%2F cnbaa19.xml
The original estimate of £250 million is set out in Table 18.1, page 132, of ‘Responsible Growth’ – BAA’s formal response to the Government on the SERAS Airports Consultation, 12 May 2003. BAA based this estimate on the assumption that the measures, identified by the Department for Transport at the end of Chapter 16 of the SERAS Consultation, were implemented. The more detailed assumptions made in arriving at this cost estimate, based on the addition of one extra runway, were stated by BAA to be as follows:
* Purchase of households subject to noise levels greater than 69 dB(A) at market value, together with additional payments for home loss and disturbance (10% and 2.5% respectively).
* Noise insulation for households subject to noise levels of 63 dB(A) daytime or more, at a cost of £8,000 per house.
* Cash compensation for households subject to noise levels greater than 57 dB(A) but less than 63 dB(A), at a cost of £2,000 per house.
* Noise insulation for hospitals and schools at an average of £200,000 per property.
* For the purposes of the calculations, BAA assumed an average property value of £210,000 around Stansted.
* The values of cash compensation of £2,000 and noise insulation of £8,000 are notional, as is the average cost of £200,000 for hospitals and schools.
* The number of hospitals and schools affected at Stansted was assumed by BAA to be a total of 15 buildings. This means that £3m of the £250m related to schools and hospitals.
“Airport Impact on Local House Prices”, Special Report by SSE, May 2004. Available athttp://www.stopstanstedexpansion.com/documents/STANSTED_SPECIAL_REPORT.pdf
For example, see letter from Michael O’Leary, Ryanair Chief Executive to the Daily Telegraph, 19.12.03 “Time for some competition” and Questor, Daily Telegraph. These sources are available at:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=%2Fopinion%2F2003%2F12%2F19%2Fdt1901.xml