Crawley weighs job hopes from Gatwick expansion against destruction of homes

18.12.2008   (Times)


Residents in town that is home to 7,000 airport staff divided in their reaction
to proposed second runway

Crawley is the new town whose fortunes rise and fall with the airport. Two miles
to the south of Gatwick, the town is home to one in three of the airport’s 25,000
staff, and unemployment remains well below the national average as a result.

Residents were divided yesterday in their reaction to the proposed second runway.
Some recognised that the airport’s expansion could boost employment significantly.
Others, however, were mortified by the plans, which BAA, the airport’s operator,
admits would require 300 homes in Crawley to be demolished, as well as 18 listed
buildings including a Victorian Grade II listed church.

Lewis Dale, 26, a worker in an old people’s home, said: "I used to work in the
South Terminal. Lots of my mates still do. Having a second runway will be great.
Everyone’s suffering right now with the credit crunch. Even though a second runway
might be a long way away, I reckon we are going to need all the help we can get."

Mike Norris, 19, a manager at Black’s clothing store, agreed. "Any expansion
has got to be good. I don’t think we’d lose much with a second runway – the noise
would probably be about the same – but we’ll gain a lot of jobs."

To some, the environmental impact of the expansion, which would devour 667 hectares
(about 1,650 acres) of land to the south of Gatwick and end only 400 yards from
Crawley’s town centre, was too much to take.

"It’s noisy enough already, thank you," said Robert Humphrey, 61. "There’s pollution
down where we live in Horley and that’s further away than here."

Mr Humphrey, who is retired, added: "Even if the runway isn’t working for ten
years, there’ll be years of building and banging and all sorts of disturbances

Liza Off, 30, a housewife from Crawley, said: "It’ll probably boost the economy
round here. Lots of young kids are unemployed. But it seems like Gatwick’s trying
to build up an area that’s already built up. It’s got to stop at some point. They
don’t need to knock down houses, surely. Why don’t they spread development around
the UK? There’s not much around Stansted. They could put it there."

In the bustling town centre, Gatwick’s expansion excited only mild interest.
Half a mile north, towards the airport, however, real anger was evident. This
area, filled with homes and commercial properties, would be bulldozed under the
expansion plans.

"They can’t just knock down our house," said Dawn Wilcox, 29, a single mother.
"This has been my home for five years. What are we supposed to do? Go on the street?
We’ve had so many problems with the airport already and now we find out they’re
going to bulldoze our homes."

There was outrage, too, at the proposed destruction of St Michael’s Church, the
Grade II listed building on Gatwick’s boundary.

BAA said it hoped that "in the case of listed buildings, there might be opportunities
for some to be dismantled, saving their historic fabric for reconstruction on
an off-airport site".

That did not impress Ms Wilcox. "They are going to dismantle the church and build
it somewhere else? Don’t be ridiculous."

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see also


Gatwick airport 2nd runway: Crawley residents ready to fight any expansion

Date Added: 18th December 2008

Residents near Gatwick have promised to mount a ferocious campaign against any
plans for a 2nd runway. The Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) said there
was too little land between Gatwick and Crawley to allow a new runway and terminal
to operate efficiently. Brendon Sewill, GACC chairman, said every local MP and
council is against it and the campaign against the runway will be every bit as
strong as the campaigns at Heathrow and Stansted. (Times)

Click here to view full story…


Secret plans revealed for second Gatwick runway

Date Added: 18th December 2008

A new runway could be built at Gatwick rather than Heathrow or Stansted under
plans secretly being developed by companies bidding to buy Britain’s second largest
airport. BAA has sent bidders a confidential memorandum with a section entitled
"Gatwick builds a second runway". The Competition Commission effectively endorsed
the idea yesterday. If Gatwick were to be expanded, up to 300 homes would have
to be demolished, and many more affected by noise. (Times)

Click here to view full story…