LETTER: Waste sites and property prices

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A government report (21.02.03) for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs showed that being near a landfill rubbish site can knock as much as 40 per cent off the value of a property in Britain ({http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/uk/article1905797.ece|http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/uk/article1905797.ece|Link}).

The report found that on average, houses are worth £5,500 less if they are within a quarter of a mile of a landfill site, and worth £1,600 less if they are between a quarter and a half a mile away.

The research for the government was undertaken to discover the scale of the nuisance to those who live close to landfill sites of smell, dust, litter, noise, vermin and visual intrusion.

A study showed that babies were more likely to suffer serious birth defects if mothers live close to landfill sites.

The study was based on more than 590,000 house sales around 11,300 landfill sites during 1991 to 2000. It found that landfills reduce the value of housing by a total of £2.5 billion.

In Scotland, houses are worth on average 40 per cent less if they are close to a tip. The study was used to help to assess the correct level for landfill tax (introduced in 1996).

We already have a huge landfill site in Langhurstwood Road but no incinerator close to where Liberty want their 2,750 houses and the primary and secondary schools built.

Now BritaniaCrest want to build at the North Horsham site a mass incinerator to burn (24/7, 365 day) commercial and domestic rubbish.

HDC leader Cllr Dawe and Cllr Cornell, the cabinet member who is in charge of waste collection and waste policy for our district, should read the growing strength of opposition on the campaign page https://www.facebook.com/noincinerator4horsham/.

The proposed Liberty housing development surrounds the waste tip currently accessed off Langhurstwood Road and as the development site would have homes within yards of the mass burn incinerator.

The government report suggests up to a 40 per cent impact of landfill sites on house prices. And add to that the impact of an incinerator.

So how Is Liberty and its chosen building firms going to be able to make their projected profits to find the s106 contributions needed for the massive road and sewage infrastructure?

It seems very unlikely that the project is viable with the chilling effect of an incinerator to depreciate house prices and therefore Liberty and their builder’s own profit margins.

Having the prospect of a mass incinerator to burn the waste for Sussex, Surrey, Kent and London (and potentially tonnes of waste brought down by train from London to sidings off Warnham station leading into the site) and the consequent reduction on value of the proposed homes must mean now is the time to look again at the North Horsham housing development.

Dr Geoffrey Richardson

Tennyson Close, Horsham

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