Many will be forced to sell their homes and businesses and relocate away from the lives they have known.
But there is one group who may suffer more than most – a group some are calling the ‘forgotten people’ of Heathrow . They are the people who rent homes and businesses rather than own them, and therefore face a much more uncertain future and will get much less compensation than those who own their own.
While homeowners are set to receive 125% of the unaffected market price for their property, along with the coverage of legal bills and stamp duty on a new home, renters are set to get far less.
According to Heathrow’s recently-released masterplan, renters will receive only statutory compensation, set at £6,300 per household, although the airport says it will supplement this with reimbursement of reasonable legal fees and removal and other disturbance costs.
Those who lease their business property are also facing hard times, with the likely loss of local custom, and harsh criteria to qualify for enhanced compensation.
Compensation for losing rented homes is £6,300
Jackie Clark-Basten leases a property in Sipson for her hairdressing business and rents the flat above.
She says the payout doesn’t come close to compensating for a life uprooted.
Mrs Clark-Basten’s uncle, who took over the tenancy of her grandparents’ home, may also see himself entitled to only the statutory compensation if he chooses to leave a home the family have occupied for nearly a century.
Mrs Clark-Basten said: “They’ve been renting there all that time, just because they’ve never been in a position to buy their own properties, and so there’s no compensation for them.”
“It’s fine if you own your own home, or if you own your own business, but if you don’t own anything, you get nothing.”
“If you’ve been part of a community for many generations and many many years, you should also be included in some kind of scheme.”
Both Mrs Clark-Basten’s and her uncle’s home are inside the Wider Property Offer Zone (WPOZ), along with roughly 5,500 others.
An additional 760 homes sit in the Compulsory Purchase Zone (CPZ), and face demolition if plans for the third runway are approved.
A double whammy
For Mrs Clark-Basten it’s a double-whammy, with her business also within the WPOZ, and her livelihood likely to be decimated by the loss of homes – and her regular clientele with them.
She accused Heathrow of restricting the number of business owners entitled to higher compensation by making it dependent on the length of their leases.
She said: “There’s a couple of lines in their documentation that they have produced and what they say is they will compensate leasehold business that have more than three years on their leases at 2021.”
Mrs Clark-Basten said she has the longest lease she knew of in the village, and hers expires in 2021.
“I therefore wouldn’t qualify, nor would anyone else,” she said.
Business leaseholders – the forgotten people
Steve Mason-Thompson, who owns Mason-Thompson MOT and Service Centre at Chambers Business Park in Sipson, says small businesses leasing in the area are the “forgotten people”.
He said all correspondence to his business had been directed at the property owner until six months ago, when two Heathrow representatives appeared to ask for his view.
Mr Mason-Thompson said he wasn’t sure what compensation he was currently entitled to, but had received a note in the mail about an upcoming consultation.
He said he would like to at least get one year of turnover covered, because it would likely take that long to settle in to a new property, if one could be found at all in the local area.
Mr Mason-Thompson said his business was self sustaining at the moment but had suffered ever since many locals chose to sell up voluntarily the last time Heathrow sought to expand.
He said: “We have not been able to keep regular residents as the properties became rentals.”
He estimated his investment in the business over the last 14 years came to roughly £700,000.
‘I’m losing the will to live with it all’
Gerald Storr of Gerald Storr Butchers in Sipson said he wasn’t sure what compensation he was entitled to either, if any.
He said he was “losing the will to live with it all” as he approached retirement and after decades of Heathrow trying to expand.
What is Heathrow offering to business leaseholders
What businesses are entitled to depends on their location.
Those in the CPZ may be eligible for Heathrow’s enhanced compensation offer, provided they have at least three years unexpired on their lease at the time of application.
Those that do will be entitled to a 25% loss payment – which equates to a quarter of the value of their lease.
Those within the CPZ who do not qualify for the enhanced compensation offer will be entitled to a statutory entitlement of a 10% loss payment.
However, businesses in the Wider Property Offer Zone, like Mrs Clark-Basten’s, will only be eligible for “discretionary support” during the construction period.
The airport said independent, small businesses based in the Wider Property Offer Zone may be eligible for discretionary support during the construction period where disruption could or does occur.
Small, independent businesses were those having a current rateable value no greater than £44,200 for the Greater London Area and £36,000 elsewhere and operated by a sole trader or as an independent unlimited liability partnership.
Heathrow’s policy currently states that for occupiers of commercial properties, the airport will in all cases look to assist these business owners with relocation where possible.
300 commercial properties needed for expansion
Currently Heathrow estimates 300 commercial properties will need to be acquired to deliver the expansion.
There are also roughly 760 Homes in their Compulsory Purchase Zone (CPZ) generally located in Longford, parts of Harmondsworth, parts of Sipson and at Elbow Meadow in Colnbrook.
There are an additional 5,500 in their Wider Property Offer Zone (WPOZ) whose owners can choose to sell rather than live with their new close proximity to the airport.
These homes are generally located in Poyle, Colnbrook, Brands Hill, Harlington, Cranford Cross and parts of Harmondsworth and Sipson.
Heathrow is currently in a 12-week consultation over it’s masterplan, after which an application will be made for a Development Consent Order, planned for 2020.
Robbed of a retirement nestegg
For Mrs Clark-Basten, she said if the expansion goes ahead it will rob her of her retirement nestegg.
She said: “When we took on the property and the business, our long term plan was always that we would be able to sell the business and lease on at some stage and move away.
“It was sort a retirement fund, if you like. Obviously we haven’t been able to do that.”
“Maybe they’ll take pity on me and come up with a better deal, I don’t know, I doubt it very much looking at the literature they’ve produced to-date.”
Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service previously, Mrs Clark-Basten warned others not to sell up until they knew whether plans would go ahead.
She said many in her own village had done that when the airport tried to expand previously in 2008, and it had left those who remained in a “ghost town” that was “devoid of community” and packed with short term rentals.
If you are affected by plans for Heathrow expansion, please get in touch with our reporter by emailing email@example.com
You can find out more about the compensation scheme online here
Heathrow hopes to buy off Harmondsworth with about £320,000 per property demolished
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