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FROM the West Sussex County Times of Friday, December 4, 1981.

A GATWICK Airport action group has welcomed a full investigation into the near-miss over Sussex of a plane piloted by Prince Philip and a Jumbo jet.

Neil Matthewson, of the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign, said: “It is extremely important that pilots follow the proper air procedures. After all one hasn’t only to consider the people in the plane but also those on the ground.”

A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority in London said that the investigation would be carried out over the next few weeks. The Joint Air-Miss Working Group would be examining reports from all those involved in the incident, including Prince Philip himself.

The near-miss occurred on Friday over Midhurst, when Prince Philip was at the controls of a twin prop-jet Andover, of the Queen’s Flight.

He was heading towards Gatwick for a private visit. Six miles north of Midhurst the Andover passed within one and a half miles of a British Airways Boeing 747 – and seconds from disaster.

All royal planes use the ‘purple corridor’ which means that no other aircraft can take off or land within 20 minutes of their craft.

It is understood that the Duke was confident that he was within this corridor. However the jumbo, with 200 passengers on board, bound for Miami was climbing to 8,000 feet after taking off from Heathrow.

The pilot took evasive action when he spotted the Duke’s plane.

BY JUST one vote, Horsham District Council’s area one plans sub-committee went along with the controversial plan to lop off part of Horsham’s Hurst Road car park and turn it into a depot for the parks department.

The 11-10 decision came despite a barrage of protest letters from their own staff, individuals, organisations and companies.

In a report to the sub-committee, planning director Tony Jones said the majority of the letters did not relate to the depot as such but expressed varying degrees of concern about the loss of commuter car parking spaces.

Included were letters from Horsham Society, urging reconsideration, and from a Hurst Road resident, concerned with congestion and extra parking in Hurst Road, and CIBA-Geigy, whose staff used the car park on their business trips to London.

A final decision will now be made in January.

NEW LABORATORY and production facilities were officially opened at Sigma Electronic Systems in North Heath Lane, Horsham, by John Wakeham MP.

And the company won warm praise from Mr Wakeham, Under Secretary of State for Industry. He said: “Sigma exemplifies what the economy needs – fast growing entrepreneurial business, perception of new product areas, the development of appropriate products, and for the UK to keep up with its overseas competitors.”

He said there were 10,000 new businesses started in this country every month. Stressing the importance of the new information technology, he said it was a race that this country could not afford to drop out of.