MANCHESTER Airport has agreed a compensation package with residents over the creation of the second runway.

Homeowners in Mobberley and Knutsford have been saved a lengthy court battle after the airport and the firm of solicitors acting on its behalf came to an agreement this week.

More than 330 householders have lodged compensation claims over the airport’s second runway, which opened in 2002.

A multi-million pound lawsuit – to be heard by the Lands Tribunal – was due to take place in September but this will now not go ahead.

A spokesman for Hugh James Solicitors, which has been fighting the battle for the residents, said: “Hugh James Solicitors can confirm that we are working with Manchester Airport in order to resolve compensation claims of residents in Knutsford and Mobberley whose property values were affected by the construction of runway two.

“We have reached agreement and are in the process of making various recommendations to our clients concerning payments following a complex and lengthy legal process.

“It has taken a lot of time and effort on both sides to reach this position and we are pleased that local residents will now receive their compensation, without having to go through a lengthy trial in the Lands Tribunal.”

A spokesman for Manchester Airport said it had reached a ‘mutually acceptable solution’.

“Manchester Airport is working with Hugh James to settle the vast majority of local residents’ claims arising from the construction of runway two,” he said.

“Working with Hugh James, the solicitors representing over 330 claimants in Knutsford and Mobberley, we are pleased to have reached a mutually acceptable solution.

“To help to ensure that this is paid swiftly, and avoid further protracted legal discussions, we have agreed a solution which covers the loss in property value, interest since the claims were lodged, legal fees and experts costs.

“Since this process began, local residents who could demonstrate an effect on the value of their property, caused by runway two, have been encouraged to put evidence forward so that we could consider and settle their claims.

“We are pleased that a number of residents have done this and that settlement has been possible.”

These claims were under the Land Compensation Act of 1973 with the basis of compensation being the loss in value of a property at a date 12 months after the new development was brought into use.

Manchester’s second runway opened on February 5, 2001, so the relevant date for assessing property value was February 5, 2002.

This is not compensation for living near the airport or being affected by aircraft noise. It is based on any proven change in house prices at the relevant date.

Jeff Gazzard, an airport campaigner and Mobberley resident, said it was good news for all concerned.

“It should also be good news for everybody who has lived in the area for a good period of time,” he said.

“It has been a long blown-out struggle.”

The airport added that the agreement still has to be formally endorsed by the Lands Tribunal, which may take several weeks and payments could only be made once the legal process is complete.

What do you think about the agreement? Let us know by calling the newsdesk on 01606 813617 or emailing james.wilson@guardiangrp.