Page last updated at 17:11 GMT, Thursday, 15 January 2009

New runway will demolish village

Sign in Sipson
People in the village have fought a long campaign against the runway

A village near Heathrow is to be razed after the government approved controversial plans to allow a third runway to be built at the airport.

Sipson sits on land destined for the runway and its 700 homes and school will effectively be wiped from the map.

The runway plans include a dual carriageway running through what is now the village's Cherry Lane cemetery.

Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon told the Commons that air quality and noise reduction targets will be met.

Mr Hoon said the decision came with environmental conditions aimed at protecting the quality of life for remaining residents with homes near Heathrow.

People like to be here, they have the social life here, they don't know what to do
Amrit Bell, landlord of the Plough pub

He said expansion was required if Britain was to remain competitive internationally.

People in Sipson said discussion over the past year had been of little else, with public spaces covered in posters urging them to get involved in the campaign to halt the expansion plans.

Residents and local businesses are expected to be the subject of compulsory purchase orders (CPO) as plans proceed to demolish the entire village to make way for the construction.

The CPOs will be used by the government or local authority as a last resort when an agreement cannot be reached with the home or land owners.

Those affected can appeal against the CPOs through the courts.

Pub in Sipson

But if they fail in their appeal they will be entitled to the market value of the property and land as well as the cost of vacating properties and relocating.

They could also be entitled to a home-loss payment to reflect and recognise the distress and discomfort of being compelled to move out of their home.

People will not be found alternative homes but the government will be expected to help them find suitable properties. The level of compensation will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

But Amrit Bell, landlord of The Plough pub, said villagers were angry.

"The local people and their traditional English pub - people like to be here, they have the social life here, they don't know what to do," he said.

Linda McCutcheon moved to Sipson Road in the village 42 years ago when she married her husband, Terry.

The 63-year-old is chair of the Harmondsworth and Sipson Residents' Association, which has campaigned heavily against the expansion.

She said: "The area's changed a great deal ever since BAA made their plans known.

Linda McCutcheon
Linda McCutcheon has lived in Sipson for 42 years

"Before, people would put their property up for sale and it'd be snapped up by another family within a week. Now that just doesn't happen."

Debbie Power, landlady at the King William IV pub, expects to lose "everything" as a result of the development.

The 30-year-old said: "The third runway will mean both my house and this pub will go. It will mean totally starting again. I lose everything."

And leader of the local Hillingdon Council Ray Puddifoot said: "As far as the residents are concerned, this is absolutely devastating.

"It's the most appalling thing that has happened in the history of the borough."

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