Heathrow’s Third Runway – What next for local homeowners?
For thousands of homeowners affected by the government’s controversial decision to go ahead with a third runway at Heathrow the fight continues; whether it's against the decision, or for fair compensation.
November 3, 2016
The government has approved a third runway at Heathrow to expand UK airport capacity following a Cabinet committee meeting last month. We take a look at what this means for homeowners at this very early stage and what other hurdles the government still has to jump to make the runway a reality.
The Impact on Homeowners
Local homeowners have been fighting against Heathrow expansion for years. Far from bringing clarity or closure, this announcement marks the start of a long journey, and for many a continued fight. A fresh consultation by the government as to the runway’s exact location is already underway. This is likely to take up to a year. And the local councils are very likely to request a Judicial Review of the consultation process in the lead up to the decision, such is local opposition.
Even if everything runs smoothly for the government, the actual runway is not expected to be completed until 2025.
Most residents impacted worry about the loss of their homes, as the runway will wipe out whole communities, as well as increased noise, air pollution and disruption. Many say they will continue to fight the decision. While others see the opportunity in taking the offer of compensation and moving elsewhere. But they are all watching and waiting.
How close a property is to the new runway will determine the level of compensation residents will be offered. The government has confirmed that owners whose homes are under threat of compulsory purchase – which totals around 750 – will receive compensation of 125% of the property’s market value from Heathrow Airport Holdings. The value will be negotiated by the seller and the government and government have said that the value will be set as if no proposals for a third runway had been made. Homeowners will be entitled to have a Chartered Surveyor to represent their interests.
The homeowners will also receive relocation costs, stamp duty and their legal costs when they come to buy a new home. It’s believed another 3,700 homeowners set to be effected by the proximity of the new runway will get the option of whether or not they wish to sell their property. Meanwhile, homeowners affected by the noise of planes are to be offered insulation (£700m has specifically been set aside for this reason).
Dan Knowles, Chartered Surveyor at Sawyer Fielding, explained what happens next, “A National Policy Statement will set out the consultation process to consider the merits of constructing the third runway. There is then likely to be a Judicial Review demanded by opponents questioning the legality of the consultation process. If the Judicial Review rules in favour of Heathrow, A Development Consent Order will go through Parliament, which if granted will provide Heathrow compulsory purchase powers. Of course, negotiations will begin long before then.”
Paula Higgins, Chief Executive of HomeOwners Alliance said, “This is a terrible time for all the homeowners affected. While the decision to build the new runway has been announced, the process now will be slow and uncertain. It’s critical that homeowners receive fair compensation and can access the financial packages immediately so they have the choice to move and get on with their lives.”
“Unfortunately, the government is not giving the same treatment to those who are in similar situations – for instance, if they live on an estate that’s being regenerated. We have members who have been stuck for years on unloved estates and are at the mercy of the local authority, fighting to get the compensation they are are due. For some, like Jasmin in West Hendon, life has been put on hold for years – seeing the price of their property drop and being unable to remortgage as they have to wait until the local authority makes the first move.”