Society puts its case at inquiry

PUBLISHED: 15:41 13 September 2007 | UPDATED: 21:48 29 May 2010

PLANS for the expansion of Stansted Airport contravene the Government s planning policy for the protection of listed buildings and conservation areas. That is the view of Britain s oldest heritage and conservation body The Society for the Protection of A

PLANS for the expansion of Stansted Airport contravene the Government's planning policy for the protection of listed buildings and conservation areas.

That is the view of Britain's oldest heritage and conservation body The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) who will present their evidence against the proposals at the Stansted inquiry today (Thursday).

The society says the plans take no account of the significance of the historic built environment.

SPAB will contend plans to increase the airport's current capacity, potentially doubling its current levels to up to 50 million passengers a year.

They will argue that it will cause severe and irreversible damage to the local historic environment and the quality of life enjoyed by the people there.

Douglas Kent, SPAB's technical director said: "BAA is greatly playing down the quality of the built heritage around

Stansted, as well as the extent of the damage that would be inflicted on old buildings and their settings by its plans.

"This is presumably because it knows that the potential harm the historic environment could suffer is a major issue, providing a strong argument against its massive expansion proposals. Centuries worth of heritage cannot be swept under the carpet."

A SPAB spokesman said: "PPG15 reiterates and supports the duties imposed on a local authority by the Planning Act 1990 to have special regard to the desirability of preserving the setting of a listed building when considering whether to grant planning permission for development (section 66).

"It pays special attention to the desirability of preserving or enhancing the character and appearance of conservation areas."

The Air Transport White Paper 2003 acknowledged that the area around Stansted has 'an attractive, varied landscape' with 'much valuable architectural heritage' that 'should be preserved as much as possible'.

SPAB will argue that BAA's application documents fail to take account of Government policy on the setting of listed buildings, the character and appearance of conservation areas and the broader historic landscape.

"The area surrounding Stansted Airport is defined by its remarkable architectural heritage," said the spokesman.

"There are 161 conservation areas in the three districts closest to the airport and 30,280 listed buildings or groups of buildings.

"In fact, these three districts contain the highest proportion of listed buildings in their respective counties.

"Within just a 2km (1.2mile) radius of Stansted Airport there are an astonishing 128 listed buildings, a high proportion of them timber framed and dating from the Middle Ages to the 17th century."

The inquiry is expected to run until October.

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