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Monday, 22 December 2014

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Planned open cast mine may lead to 40 per cent house price fall

Residents living next to a proposed open cast mine site could see the value of their homes plummet by 40 per cent if the plans get the go-ahead.

Action group photo
Halton Lea Gate Action Against Open Cast Mining, from left to rightn Alan Clues, Jeremy Ancketill, Alexander Murray, Paul Bills and Linda Grady

The total reduction in property prices in Halton Lea Gate would represent a staggering £9 million drop for the surrounding area.

Brian Higgs, retired director of estate agents Pennine Ways Town and Country Property, based in Alston, said prices could drop by 40 per cent in the town and 25 per cent in the surrounding three to four miles.

Plans have been submitted by developer HM Project Development to Northumberland County Council, for permission to extract 140,000 tonnes of coal from Halton Lea Farm and then restore it to make it suitable for agricultural and equestrian use.

Residents have since united in opposition, forming the North Pennines Protection Group.

Mr Higgs said: “These drastic declines are present in areas where there is any kind of excavation.

“Similar things have happened in South Wales and County Durham and not just in relation to coal mining.

“In Sanquhar in Dumfries and Galloway, where there was lead mining, the house prices are still depressed.

“Rural communities have quite a struggle at the moment anyway.”

Properties near open cast mines are not desirable purchases and Mr Higgs added that increased traffic and noise in the designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty would also be contributing factors to the price decline.

A public meeting was held in the town with the developer, organised by Northumberland County Council last week.

Nick Kennon, of the North Pennines Protection Group, said: “Some local people would be set to lose over £120,000 off the price of their homes in an already difficult market.

“This would be disastrous.”

Northumberland County Council is currently consulting with the community on the plans and this will continue until March 2009.

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