SECOND RUNWAY: ‘New town the size of Crawley’ would result, says GACC

Gatwick Airport, aerial view of new passenger bridge at Pier 6 and North Terminal Apron including runways, June 2005, Image ref CGA00963, A.C
Gatwick Airport, aerial view of new passenger bridge at Pier 6 and North Terminal Apron including runways, June 2005, Image ref CGA00963, A.C
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Up to 45,000 new houses would be needed if a new runway is built at Gatwick airport, claims the opposition group Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC).

It states that this is the conclusion of a study by independent consultants jointly commissioned by West Sussex County Council and the Gatwick Diamond Initiative.

The total number of houses in Crawley at present is around 40,000, leading GACC to assert a new town the size of Crawley would result in any new runway project.

GACC says the study, carried out by Berkeley Hanover Consulting, predicts that the number of jobs created by a new runway plus the number of jobs created in firms attracted to the area by doubling the size of Gatwick would be far in excess of any available labour.

It would require a substantial influx of workers from other parts of the UK or from the EU, it concludes.

In Sussex, Crawley and Horsham are already having difficulty finding sites for a few thousand houses to meet current demand.

Local councils would need to decide whether to build a whole new town or whether to add hundreds of new houses to every town and village - perhaps a thousand houses added to forty villages, exclaims GACC in a statement to the media.

According to Brendon Sewill, its chairman: “This independent study, if correct, shows that a new runway would lead to widespread urbanisation, serious pressure on schools and hospitals, and the loss of much dearly-loved countryside.

“The more we find out, the more we doubt if the implications of the study were taken on board by members of the West Sussex County Council before they took their surprise decision in July to support a new runway.”

Mr Sewill added: “The Gatwick Diamond businessmen, who have been lobbying so hard to promote a new runway, also have some explaining to do.

“They sponsored this study so they can’t now disown it.

“Yet it shows that their dream of making Gatwick bigger than Heathrow could turn into a nightmare.”

In response to GACC’s assertions Gatwick Airport Limited has released a statement.

“Our initial forecasts show that expansion at Gatwick – for the largest capacity option submitted to the Airports Commission – could deliver up to 19,000 new jobs through to 2050.

“That equates to about 750 new jobs a year.

“We appreciate and understand that housing is an important issue locally and during the next phase of our work we will work closely, and in collaboration with the Local Authorities to understand whether those additional jobs will have any impact on existing housing plans for the region.”

West Sussex County Council has been approached for comment, which will be published on this website and in the County Times this Thursday once received.

In the meantime, what do you think of these findings? Do you support the business case for a second runway at Gatwick Airport, or do you believe any growth in population and / or housing would be too much for Sussex?

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