The cruel realities of Heathrow blight – residents whose homes may be demolished for Heathrow runway
Villagers living in a small road close to Heathrow were this week coming to terms with the threat of having all their homes compulsorily purchased to make way for the proposed Heathrow expansion. Residents of Elbow Meadow off Bath Road, Colnbrook received letters late last week from Heathrow, after the launch of their (premature and presumptuous) consultation. They were warned that their 13 homes may have to go to allow the M25 to be realigned 150 metres to the west of the airport. Possible rebuilding of the A3044 road would affect that part of the village too. The area is already seriously affected by planes low overhead, being close to the western end of the northern runway. Some residents are resigned to having to move. Others are not. One resident said: “There used to be 36 shops in the village. We were a village where people knew each other. They vanished one by one and now there is just one. It is the Heathrow blight – many see Colnbrook as a dormitory village.” Another has already tried to move, but said: “We did try to move earlier. The house has been on the market but the three offers were all well below the house’s value made by people who knew about the Heathrow threat.” The cruel realities of living near Heathrow, with its blight.
Residents whose homes may be demolished for Heathrow expansion voice outrage
By Francis Batt @BattFrancis
29.1.2018 (Slough Observer)
VILLAGERS living in a small road were this week coming to terms with the threat of having all their homes compulsorily purchased to make way for the proposed Heathrow expansion.
Residents of Elbow Meadow off Bath Road, Colnbrook received letters late last week warning that their 13 homes may have to go to allow the M25 to be realigned 150 metres to the west of the airport – a £2.6 billion compensation package is being committed.
Elbow Meadow is about half a mile from the main village of Colnbrook and much nearer the runway.
Heathrow has been part of residents’ lives for years.
Planes fly so low over their homes as they head down to the runway that the names of the airlines are clearly visible, creating an deafening roar loud enough to drown out conversation or television.
Marjorie Edwards, 86, has lived in her house with its beautifully cultivated back garden since 1958 when she and her late husband had it built.
He worked for the Ford car company in Langley. She said: “We wanted somewhere he could cycle or drive to.”
But the relentless growth of Heathrow changed things.
She said: “The air quality has been badly affected. My husband became very ill and the doctor told him he lived in the wrong place. He died of pneumonia.”
But she does not want to leave her home after so many years and her view on Heathrow expansion is clear.
“I just wish they would do it somewhere else. “Heathrow has ruined this village.”
Her good friends Keith Ayres, 79 and his wife Kathleen live at the Brands Hill end of Colnbrook almost a mile further away from the airport.
But possible rebuilding of the A3044 road would affect that part of the village too.
The Ayres family once ran the family building firm in the village and Mr Ayres has lived there his whole life.
He said: “There used to be 36 shops in the village. We were a village where people knew each other. They vanished one by one and now there is just one. It is the Heathrow blight – many see Colnbrook as a dormitory village.”
Neil Smith, 61 and his wife Anne have lived in Elbow Meadow for more than 30 years.
He worked at John Guest Plumbing Systems, West Drayton as a quality engineer.
He said: “I don’t really mind if they do compulsorily purchase us, I would not really miss it. This village has changed so much over the years.
“But I do feel sorry for people who feel differently.”
One resident who did not wish to be named said he was concerned about his daughter’s forthcoming exams if the family had to move away from her school next year.
He said: “We did try to move earlier. The house has been on the market but the three offers were all well below the house’s value made by people who knew about the Heathrow threat.”
The new Heathrow consultation runs until March 28 and a final decision will be made by MPs later this year on the third-runway development. Visit www.heathrowconsultation.com for more information.
Letters from Heathrow target residents under threat
24.10.2017 (Stop Heathrow Expansion website)
As if living under threat of having your home destroyed for a third runway isn’t bad enough, you are also subjected to correspondence being pushed through your letterbox that suggests the bulldozers are poised to crush your property.
Last weekend, the latest unsolicited letters to land on villagers’ doormats were marked with a red statement saying: “IMPORTANT – HEATHROW COMPULSORY PURCHASE – To the property owner”.
Inside the envelope was a letter “To the Homeowner”, which, under the heading “Heathrow Expansion” started: “As you may be aware, your property is within the area identified for the proposed Heathrow expansion plans which are likely to be subject to a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) in the near future.”
For a start, the government has NOT given the go-ahead for a third runway at Heathrow. Far from looking likely that houses with be compulsory purchased, it is looking likely that a third runway is undeliverable, (The Tories are talking about borrowing money to build homes to ease the housing crisis so they will struggle to justify borrowing the £17bn needed for third runway transport infrastructure. Meanwhile, Labour is looking at the four tests that it says would have to be satisfied before the party could support a third runway. There seems little or no prospect of those tests being passed.)
Having deliberately made the recipient of the letter fearful that they will be forced to sell their property and move out “in the near future”, you would have thought that the sender would have sent the letter ONLY to properties in the CPO zone designated by Heathrow. In fact, people OUTSIDE that CPO zone got the letter too. It beggars belief that anyone would so casually inform people that their home has been earmarked for imminent destruction without having done some rudimental research.
Many residents were soon up in arms at receiving the letter and worried about vulnerable residents who might mistake this marketing junk mail for something more official that required a response. Telephone numbers and an email address were on the letter and when SHE was informed of the letter we contacted the sender – Robert Clifford, Director of Aitchison Rafferty.
For some reason, the contents of the letter don’t state that Aitchison Rafferty is a firm of Chartered Surveyors and Town Planners, you have to work that out from logos and small print at the bottom or go to their website. The company’s letter head refers to them as Property Consultants. So what are the services they are offering and what are they getting out of it?
Now if you want to seek advice from a company that doesn’t even check whether you are in the CPO area or not before sending you a letter stating that you are (and someone has already contacted to us to say this is reason enough to avoid the company), that is entirely up to you.
Firms like Aitchison Rafferty know that they can earn money from the Compulsory Purchase Order Process. They hope that residents will sign up with them because the fees that companies receive for CPO advice will come from Heathrow rather than the homeowner. That way this company, like others, can say “our services are effectively free of charge”.
If you sign up with them they will contact Heathrow and say they are acting on your behalf. They will look at a valuation of your property and will act for you in any negotiations. Their claim is that they can get you the best price for your home. If you are thinking of selling, you may wish to engage the services of a surveyor or solicitor to look into the options in your case.
Beware of ambulance chasers. Do some research and check that they have experience of dealing with individuals who have been threatened with a CPO. Find out what they have achieved for others. If you are not planning to sell, do you want to go down this route? Look for websites that offer advice and not simply those that are basically looking to make money for themselves or their associates.
Our villages do not have a library so it is almost impossible for many people, especially the elderly, to access the internet or research materials. We generally have to rely on our communities to spread the word.
Do not be panicked by these letters, which are clearly designed to push you in one direction – towards their company. They are marketing letters.
WE ARE FIGHTING AGAINST HEATHROW EXPANSION AND EXPECT TO WIN AGAIN – JOIN US! http://stopheathrowexpansion.co.uk/home/
We now hear that huge numbers of people in the CPO area have not received the marketing letter while, as we mentioned, others outside the CPO area got the letters that say they are inside. Without doubt, Aitchison Rafferty has not looked into our situation at the sharp end of Heathrow expansion. These letters, whether they are acted upon or not, put further uncertainty into the minds of people who are already having their life decisions affected.
The scattergun approach of such mail shots is no way to help our villagers.