10th June 2003

Guided Tours of Historic Buildings Threatened by Stansted Expansion


The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) and Stop Stansted Expansion are joining forces to visit many of the historic buildings that are in danger of being destroyed or be rendered uninhabitable under the Government’s plans to expand Stansted Airport.

The fully guided tours take in the threatened communities of Bamber’s Green (14 June), Browns End Road, Broxted (22 June) and Brick End, Broxted (6 July).

These tours will provide a unique opportunity to gain insight into the rich exterior architectural heritage of the local area which boasts one of the highest concentrations of thatched and half timbered buildings in the country. These not only contribute immeasurably to the region’s quality of life, providing a real sense of local identity for the community as well as homes to many people who have lived there for generations.

The Stansted area is characterised above all by its rich architectural heritage, and its thatched cottages, moated farmhouses, barns, timber-framing and pargetting are the reason tourists are drawn to the area.

Douglas Kent of SPAB in Essex said: “Airports are now the greatest threat to historic buildings since the Second World War. The issue is not just about a few extra flights and new strips of tarmac. Hundreds of old buildings – some of the country’s finest – face total demolition or permanent blight because of airport expansion. A huge disaster is about to be visited upon our heritage by the Government, in our name, for the provision of unsustainable cheap flights.”

One local resident, Sarah Cousins, who lives with her family in a 400 year-old cottage in Brick End, Broxted, commented: “Not long ago the authorities refused us permission to extend our home, which is Grade II listed. Now they’re thinking of demolishing it, together with dozens of other ancient buildings. People in this country value their heritage. How is the Government becoming so out of touch?”

Around Stansted, 65 listed buildings and three scheduled ancient monuments could be lost forever.

SPAB in Essex and SSE are pooling their resources to urge the Government to recognise the importance of our unique local heritage and to encourage a more forward-thinking approach towards air travel. The Society believes there is a duty to future generations to:

· Make better use of existing runway capacity
· Manage demand by removing unfair subsidies
· Promote high-speed rail to reduce short-haul flights.

Continued Douglas Kent: “This rich architectural heritage should be cherished, not obliterated.”

Tickets in advance £8.75 (£7.25 for members of the SPAB/SSE), available from the SSE campaign office on 01279 870 558.


Note to Editors:

SPAB, founded in 1877 by William Morris, is Britain’s senior architectural conservation body, and one of the first in the world. It is a charity and, as well as campaigning for old buildings, advised on their care and maintenance.  SPAB also runs training courses for both building professionals and the general public in the upkeep of historic buildings.

Campaigning to ensure Stansted Airport's authorised operations stay below harmful limits