House prices fear over 33-mile Shropshire power line plan
The threat of a 33-mile power line running through Shropshire and Mid Wales is already stunting business growth and devastating property prices, a packed public meeting has heard.
Business owners and county residents told Shropshire Council leader Keith Barrow and Environment Secretary Owen Paterson they felt power firm bosses were “playing with their lives” by proposing to run a power line through the region.
Mr Paterson, MP for North Shropshire, told the meeting he shared the concerns, dubbing the energy plans “stupid”.
The meeting at The Venue at Oswestry was attended by about 200 people last night and was staged by Shropshire Council to discuss National Grid’s plans for a 33-mile power line from near Cefn Coch, in Mid Wales, to Lower Frankton, near Oswestry.
The line will serve proposed Mid Wales windfarms which are currently subject to a planning inquiry. National Grid plans to bury about a quarter of the line as it passes through the Meifod valley in Mid Wales but all of the Shropshire section is set to be carried overhead on pylons.
The firm says it will look to use T-pylons to carry the line, which are about 15 metres shorter than traditional pylons.
Last night’s meeting heard the final route of the line had not yet been agreed – but the mere threat of having a line close to properties was having a devastating impact on businesses and individual householders.
Whittington farmer and sausage and bacon producer Jamie Ward said he had been planning to sell a farmhouse in the area in order to support his business.
Mr Ward said as soon as the possible route of the line was announced, and potential buyers were told it was near the farmhouse, interest in the property halted instantly.
Clive Knowles, managing director of the British Ironwork Centre at Aston near Oswestry, said the proposed route had interrupted plans he had for a new tourism attraction at the site. He said he plans to develop a sculpture park but added: “We now realise the pylons could be in our backyard, right through the sculpture park, directly in line with our front door.”
Mr Knowles said his property had been worth about £3 million but had been told by estate agents it could be only about half that now because of the pylons threat.
Maesbrook woman Sue Forgie said she had hundreds of people interested in buying her house before it emerged the pylons could run about half a mile from her property.
Mrs Forgie said she had “absolutely zero” viewings after it came to light the pylons could run close to her home.
Mr Paterson said he needed further hard evidence about the blight the potential pylon line was having on the region so he could fight the threat.
A show of hands at the meeting found the audience was unanimously against the pylon line, windfarms and subsidies for windfarm operators. Councillor Keith Barrow said Shropshire Council would be sending its objections to the power project to National Grid.
Comments for: "House prices fear over 33-mile Shropshire power line plan"
I do find it strange that power lines, motorways and railways seem to have this effect by blighting properties on the route before the infrastructure is built. Once constructed the commercial builders step in and build houses right up to it and make no reductions in the selling price at all. The houses are always sold.
We do not find row after row of empty houses under power lines, they are always occupied. Railways in particular have houses built within feet of lines.
I accept that when the route is unknown there can be some reluctance to purchase properties, particularly if development is considered because it halts planning until the route is confirmed and on arable land because the pylons reduce the net acreage and may interrupt planting and harvesting.
The best thing is to fix the route and if there are objections buy the land out right and resell it after completion. No compensation for the sake of it if the people are unhappy with power lines let them move elsewhere. I'm sure that if the government had a fund to buy and sell properties affected by planning blight it would very soon be a profitable venture with no compensation bills and reasonable treatment of the people blighted.
It would also speed up the planning process and reduce infrastructure costs incurred by delays. HS2 could be under construction now if the planning blight debate is taken out and replaced with fixed rules. If there are property value losses they should be based on actual sales prices not the broad assumptions made by surveyors which are nothing more than educated guesses by people with an interest in staying in business or getting the best possible compensation for their clients on graduated fees. Those sales based losses could then be compensated.