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Affects on Residential Property Value as a
Consequence of Telecom Instalations

This is a difficult area to give definitive advise in,like all developments that have an actual or perceived health effect linked to them then there is an adverse effect upon property prices, particularly in the stage up to the permission being granted when the uncertainty of whether the development is to proceed is usure. Desirability of the property in question, or the locality can also affect the potential resell value of a property. It al comes down at the end of the day to the willingness of a potential new owner purchasing the property at the price that is being asked. Perhaps that is stating the obvious, but it is a very important aspect as whilst we have horror stories of homes being unable to be sold at any price, we equally have situations where the fact a mast exists has made no difference to the ability to sell a home, even where that mast is seen locally as being controversial.

The nearest we can get to putting any estimate to the potential loss in value is from homes that are close to other similar developments such as High Powered Cables and Incinerators. An easy start is to assume that a potential loss is likely to be in the region of 20% to 30% of its pre development value. But as we say there are many other competing factors such as the desirability of the home, the availability of homes within an area, as well as the type of dwelling, if the property is likely to seen as a family home then that might attract a greater discount than say a student home, due to the reluctance of parents to place their off spring in any form of danger, real or perceived.

In a recent court judgement concerning a wind farm development District Judge Michael Buckley said that the noise, visual intrusion and flickering of light through the blades of turbines reduced the value of a house by a fifth. He said that the value of a remote house in Marton, in the Lake District, fell significantly because of the construction of a wind farm of seven 40m-high turbines 500 metres away. "The effect is significant and it has a significant effect on the property," he said. "It is an incursion into the countryside. It ruins the peace". We have to turn to cases such as this due to the lack of any precedents specifically affecting telecom installations.

Irrespective of the merits of a case if the planning regime has fully considered the case, it is unlikely that the courts would overtuurn a case due to a mere infringement of the rights under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (right to enjoyment of property), due in the main also for the need of the courts to protect the interests of the land owner to be free to develop his land, least those same Article 8 rights are breached. For a case relating to the deminition in value of property where Article 8 was the only issue in question see Lough & Anor v First Secretary of State & Anor [2004] EWCA Civ 905 (12 July 2004). Similarly where there is a statutory scheme of protection, even when without that scheme a clear violation of a right had occured, including actual damage to a persons property then a claim could not be made out outside of that scheme, see Marcic v Thames Water Utilities Ltd.

For a report of the specific requirements under Section 7 of the Nuclear Installations Act 1965 that sets out the appproach of the Courts in 3 cases of contamination from radiactive contamination see the Legal 500 Report.

Insurance is now available against the potential for adverse developments including telecom masts close to residential property. The insurance premium is 12 per month for 25% of the properties value up to a maximum of 100,000 plus removal expences, being the projected difference in the before and after value of the property affected by the development. The insurred must sell their home and move. Whilst the policy would be of little benefit to anyone already affected by a development, the conditions being that it the policy must be taken out within 13 weeks of the person moving into the new property, and a declaration must be signed that they are not aware of any adverse developments that are likely to affect the policy at the time of taking out the insurance. This is further evidence of the acceptance of inappropriate developments affecting residential property values. Information on the scheme can be obtained from Lucas, Fettes & Partners 0207 413 0999.

TO BE COMPLETED

Planning Sanity - August 2004 (can be freely used by local communities within their campaigns. Publication by third parties is permitted providing acknowledgement of Planning Sanity is given).

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