Local blog from Horsham – with concerns about the Gatwick Diamond’s pressure for 2nd runway
In a blog for the local newspaper in Horsham, near Gatwick, columnist Nik Butler considers what it means that Horsham Council is apparently part of the entity called the “Gatwick Diamond.” The “Diamond” is a notional idea developed to create economic benefit by highlighting the relationship between the central value of Gatwick airport and the surrounding secondary and tertiary businesses. It is rich in buzzwords like sustainable, economic, knowledge based, etc. Its focus is on the economic development and planning framework for the area, and it is gung ho for a 2nd Gatwick runway. Its ambitions are bound up with a new runway, and the massive developments that would be needed. Nik Butler says the reasons put forward for a new runway need to be opened up and thoroughly reviewed. “The phrase “sustainable” should be the first on the midden heap of marketing; there is nothing sustainable in the combustion of jet fuel until we find alternative renewable fuels for those jets……Jobs will be created, possibly, but are they jobs with a salary suitable enough to afford local properties?” He suggests “Don’t be taken in by buzz words or marketing” without considering the whole infrastructure required. Horsham may end up worse off.
“Don’t fall for buzzwords, Diamonds are not forever”
13.2.2014 By columnist, Nik Butler for the West Sussex Gazette
Horsham District is ‘apparently’ part of the Gatwick Diamond.
The “Diamond” is a notional idea developed to create economic benefit by highlighting the relationship between the central value of Gatwick airport and the surrounding secondary and tertiary businesses.
If you google the term “Gatwick Diamond” you may well find yourself bombarded by buzzwords like sustainable, economic, knowledge based, and so on.
At its heart the concept is just another business networking opportunity; wrapped in a pleasant collection of websites and soundbites. Quite unsurprisingly the Gatwick Diamond forms part of discussion surrounding the District’s economic development and planning framework. Which leads to an interesting question as to why that should be important?
In looking back and forth between the development framework and the references to the Gatwick Diamond it is hard to understand how it will be possible to embrace and encourage an involvement within said Gatwick Diamond without supporting the need for a second runway.
It may be a softening up process to make a bitter pill easier to swallow but if I were looking to the future development in and around Sussex and Surrey all the signs appear to be pointing towards that second runway.
Now I am not against a second runway; but I do think some of the reasons put forward to support or reject it should be opened up and thoroughly reviewed. The phrase “sustainable” should be the first on the midden heap of marketing; there is nothing sustainable in the combustion of jet fuel until we find alternative renewable fuels for those jets. [Which is very unlikely, bearing in mind the need for ever increasing human food supplies, and hence land and water].
Suggestions that a countryside will be demolished are empty words when you consider most of that “countryside” is mostly farm land and private fields; hardly nature in its wild abundance. Jobs will be created, possibly, but are they jobs with a salary suitable enough to afford local properties?
Don’t be taken in by buzz words or marketing; the Gatwick Diamond only benefits businesses and shareholders. This in itself is not the problem.
The problem comes when you neglect to consider the whole infrastructure required to deliver support to that idea. Property and business units without hospitals, schools, broadband and flood protection will eventually find the cost of hiring employees prohibitive as we are already experiencing in the exodus of big business from Horsham. Diamonds may be a girls best friend but for this, commuting, market town Diamonds are not forever.
………. It’s odd that with all the millions of pounds of planning gain our council (Horsham) have received over the years all we seem to have is a fountain that won’t work, a swimming centre and some nice new paving.
We have a park,n,ride to the south and nothing to the north so you either drive right round the bypass, not very organic, or park in town.
No A&E, an inadequate railway bridge leading into town and inadequate parking.
Makes you wonder what they actually do spend all that planning gain money on; certainly not on infra-structure.