Fears Liverpool airport future runway expansion could demolish beautiful beach loved by Paul McCartney
Plans for Liverpool John Lennon Airport to extend its runway for long haul flights have been slammed by residents who fear the expansion will demolish a popular Merseyside beach. Furious residents from Hale and Speke are holding a protest picnic against the airport’s expansion plans at Oglet Shore, the threatened location. Oglet Shore is an agricultural coastal area between Speke and Hale Villiage and is well known for being one of Paul McCartney’s favourite places to visit as a child. The fields that lie between the airport runway and Oglet are often described as the “last truly rural area” in Liverpool – but will lose their designated Green Belt land status as part of the proposed expansion plans. The Oglet lies south of the runway and is classified as Undeveloped Coast Land, which can be used for development if there is no other suitable location for the plans. The airport wants to expand, and have been led to believe they could have more business aviation, cargo and even links to Heathrow in future …
Fears Liverpool airport expansion could demolish beautiful beach loved by Paul McCartney
It is known as one of the Beatles legend’s favourite childhood spots – but now its future is in doubt
By Faye Brown, Local Democracy Reporter (Liverpool Echo)
12 JULY 2018
Plans for Liverpool John Lennon Airport to extend its runway for long haul flights have been slammed by residents who fear the expansion will demolish a popular Merseyside beach.
Furious residents from Hale and Speke are holding a protest picnic against the airport’s expansion plans at Oglet Shore, the threatened location, this Saturday at noon.
Oglet Shore is an agricultural coastal area between Speke and Hale Villiage and is well known for being one of Paul McCartney’s favourite places to visit as a child.
The fields that lie between the airport runway and Oglet are often described as the “last truly rural area” in Liverpool – but will lose their designated Green Belt land status as part of the proposed expansion plans.
The Oglet lies south of the runway and is classified as Undeveloped Coast Land, which can be used for development if there is no other suitable location for the plans.
As well as being a recreation site for many Speke and Hale residents, it is home to rare wildlife, bats and bird species.
Airport bosses say they could spend £100m on the airport over the next decade to expand the terminal and even extend the runway for long haul flights, business aviation, direct flights to Heathrow and cargo operations.
Despite these proposed benefits including potential direct flights from Liverpool to New York, over 2000 people have signed a petition against the expansion.
The petition to Save Oglet Shore states: “This beautiful area, with its woods, ponds and streams, home to bats, owls and many Red list, endangered farmland birds, and a vital habitat in an increasingly built up area, is due to disappear under concrete if the loss making Liverpool airport development goes ahead.
“In an area where open land is being rapidly being sold for housing, there are decreasing numbers of places for the community to relax and enjoy the environment.
“Liverpool Council have pledged to protect our parks and green spaces and also have duty to protect and preserve this important coastal habitat, so why threaten it in the vain hope the airport will become profitable?”
The protest comes ahead of plans for the Airport to part-close Dungeon Lane, where Oglet is accessed via Speke, for the the erection of a 2.9 metre high paladin fence around about 60 acres of greenbelt land that leads onto the shore.
Residents have accused Peel Holdings, who own the airport, of deliberately restricting access to Oglet so that less people use it, making it easier to justify future development.
However, a spokesperson from LJLA stressed that the new fence is completely unrelated to the expansion, and is a legal requirement to comply with Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulations regarding improved safety.
The spokesperson commented: “We are extending the airport perimeter fence in order to comply with CAA regulations regarding improved safety and security however this is not part of the Airport’s Master Plan for future expansion.
“As part of these works to satisfy CAA requirements for the existing airport operation we need to close Dungeon Lane, however a new bridleway is to be created and the existing closure of Baileys Lane will be re-opened in order to maintain full public access for both pedestrians and vehicles to the areas south of the airport, including to the Oglet Shore, as currently available.
“The closure of Dungeon Lane will not take place unless and until the alternative access is provided.
“The Master Plan sets out a long term vision for the future of LJLA. It is not an application for planning permission and development remains subject to the normal requirements for planning permission as and when necessary.
“The Master Plan was published earlier this year following a public consultation held in 2017. This consultation was open to everyone and included a media launch and two local consultation events, inviting local communities and all interested parties to participate.
“The Master Plan includes an opportunity to establish an extension to the Speke Garston Coastal Reserve to the south of the Airport, more than doubling the existing reserve and for use by local communities.”
Liverpool airport wants to extend runway for some long-haul and transatlantic flights
Liverpool John Lennon Airport wants to extend its runway by 314 metres, so it can attract direct transatlantic flights, to try to more than double its passenger numbers. It has published another Master Plan (these are more wish lists to impress investors, rather than firm future plans!). The Plan is out to 2050 and has all sorts of optimistic aspirations. The airport wants to grow passengers numbers from 4.8 million per year today, to 11 million by 2050. To do that, they want to get direct links to many new destinations. The current runway is too short for even the newer smaller long-haul aircraft. The runway extension would take it to 2,600m length. They hope not only to have European flights, as now, but also flights to the USA and to the Middle East. There are the usual bits of hype about the number of jobs this would create and the economic benefits to the area. The reality is that most of the passengers would probably be going on holidays abroad, taking their holiday/leisure money out of the country. Liverpool hopes it can attract passengers who currently use Manchester, Heathrow, Gatwick and Birmingham airports. And Liverpool airport also wants to increase the amount of cargo it handles, which has been falling.