Slough Borough Council lists its financial demands on Heathrow, if it gets a 3rd runway

Slough Borough Council is supportive of a 3rd runway at Heathrow. With Spelthorne, they are the only two councils near Heathrow that do back a new runway. Slough has now submitted their council response to the Airports Commission consultation, but it includes many points on which the council wants extra funding, if there is a new runway. Slough Council expects to be compensated for loss of council tax from residential properties,  loss of business rates from commercial land lost; and loss of business rates from closure of the Colnbrook incinerator. They want Heathrow to pay for insulation of public buildings, especially schools, throughout the whole of Slough; fixed noise monitoring stations across all affected areas of Slough, with the airport paying for their operation; and replacement of the Grundon incinerator, with no break in service, all at Heathrow’s expanse. They also expect extension of the Slough Mass Rapid Transit  bus system to Heathrow, which has been halted due to lack of money. And Slough wants Heathrow to contribute towards the cost of air quality monitoring, recognising much is due to the airport. And the list continues


Slough lists its financial demands on Heathrow expansion

19 JANUARY, 2015 (Colnbrook Views)
It may have included just 9 points to mitigate the impact of Heathrow expansion into Colnbrook and Poyle.  But Slough’s Cabinet has managed to find 13 areas where it wants Sir Howard Davies to give it extra funding if a Third Runway gets the go ahead this summer.

The information below has been gleaned from Slough’s draft response to the Airports Commission due to be finalised by Cabinet tonight.

Slough Borough Council expects to be compensated for loss of revenue as a result of the following impacts of airport expansion:

  • Loss of council tax from residential properties lost to the airport
  • Loss of business rates from commercial land lost to the airport
  • Loss of business rates from the Colnbrook incinerator (additional pressures on Council if the incinerator is rebuilt outside of the borough)
  • Compensation if the borough cedes land to Hillingdon

The town would also demand that Heathrow pay to migitate specific impacts of expansion, including:

  • Insulation of public buildings, especially schools throughout the whole of Slough.
  • Fixed noise monitoring stations will also need to be expanded to cover affected areas of Slough and the cost of operation needs to be covered by the airport operator.
  • Replacement of the Grundon incinerator at no cost to the authority, and with no break in service.

It also expects Heathrow expansion to fund the following existing plans and projects already announced or under way:

  • Extension of the Slough Mass Rapid Transit (SMART) bus system from Brands Hill to Heathrow. Previously this was to be funded by the SIFE development, and is currently on hold indefinitely due to lack of cash. But the council now sees this as “an essential element of the Heathrow promoters’ surface access packages”.
  • Extension of the Slough bike hire scheme to Colnbrook and Poyle (promised anyway for this year).
  • Air quality monitoring at Brands Hill. Slough would expect Heathrow to contribute towards the cost of monitoring and validation, as the “very poor air quality” around M4 junction 5/Brands Hill can be attributed to airport traffic including freight both directly and indirectly related to airport operations.

And it says Heathrow should also be expected to pay for three massive extensions of public transport not just for communities adjacent to Heathrow but throughout the entire borough:

  • To encourage those accessing Heathrow from the west to use public transport, the existing free travel zone should be expanded to Slough for residents and Heathrow employees, and should be expanded to include the Transport for London 81 service.
  • The Council’s Western Rail Access to Heathrow (WRAtH) should replace the proposed Heathrow Hub station and be funded as part of expansion. The project has been floundering without funding.
  • Extra bus services to connect the airport from communities to the west including Slough. The Council points out that existing services are already subsidised by Heathrow, Slough, and Windsor & Maidenhead councils and has called for a review.



Colnbrook’s strategy on airport expansion changes again

24 JANUARY, 2015 (Colnbrook Views)

Closer to home Colnbrook’s Cllr Peter Hood continues to pursue his own unofficial policy of pushing expansion to Gatwick through the Slough Express, but the strategy appears to have changed yet again. 

The Airports Commission's noise analysis shows little impact on Slough east of Colnbrook

After minutes of a Cabinet meeting in December recorded “that many of the problems outlined were pre-existing” he has changed tact to try and convince Slough that life could be unbearable across the borough.

Yesterday the paper quoted him as insisting that “Gatwick expansion is the only option”. He has written to Slough councillors to tell them that if expansion at Heathrow were to take place, residents across Slough would be unable to enjoy the town’s open spaces because of an increase in noise and pollution.

Until November it was Parish policy not to even talk about the possibility of airport expansion for fear of causing house price blight.

With just 9 days to go until the end of the Airport Commission consultation it now seems unlikely the promised village-wide meeting to discuss what expansion of Heathrow might mean locally will now happen.

Residents attending the exhibition by Heathrow Hub in Colnbrook Village Hall on Tuesday expressed confusion to find posters advertising Gatwick expansion at the entrance, such is the extent that Gatwick is being promoted locally now.  Frustration remains that the focus is on Gatwick’s plans when it should be on highlighting the devastating impact of the two Heathrow options on local people.

Like Windsor & Maidenhead Council, Colnbrook Parish Council has not made public its formal response to the Airports Commission, nor put it out to consultation to residents.

Even Slough, staunchly behind expansion at Heathrow, did that.



Slough wants a say in reallocating blight-purchased Colnbrook homes

While Slough has encouraged expansion of Heathrow into the borough, and failed to stand up for Colnbrook and Poyle residents, it now says it expects to have a role to play in re-allocating blight-hit homes.

19.1.2015 (Colnbrook Views)


Heathrow Airport Ltd’s offer to purchase properties closest to the airport must be “managed carefully”, says Slough Borough Council.

With extraordinary timing the airport announced just before the Airports Commission hearing at Heathrow that it would buy any property in the ward for 25% above market value … once the first spade hits the ground.

The airport said it would renovate purchased houses, install noise insulation, and then sell the houses on the open market, raising inevitable concerns that neighbourhoods would be ripped apart and community spirit irretrievably lost.

Now Slough says it wants to have a say in how homes are returned to the market, and who should live where.

It says in its draft response to the Commission:

It is important that there is a mixed and balanced community continues to exist, and close working with Slough Borough Council would support this.

It adds:

“It should not only be those with no choice as to where they can live who are placed in these properties.”

No further details are available but the clear indication is that Slough wants to intervene in the free market operation and rebuild communities as it sees fit.

The Commission estimates between 22,900 and 70,800 new houses will be required across fourteen boroughs, but Slough disputes that the requirement will be to this magnitude.

However it does agree that expansion at Heathrow will drive housing demand and says it will be challenging for Slough to accommodate that need especially if the borough reduces in size due to loss of land for airport expansion.  Access to homes from those in Colnbrook and Poyle displaced by the airport’s plans will be key to meeting that demand.



Expansion at Gatwick would cost 2,251 local jobs by 2030

19 JANUARY, 2015 (Colnbrook Views)

Slough says if Gatwick wins the competition to build a new runway thousands of jobs will be lost at Heathrow.

The striking claim has been made by Slough Borough Council in its draft response to the Airports Commission, to be ratified tonight by Cabinet.

Slough cites the Heathrow Employment Impact Study produced by Parsons Brinckerhoff and Berkeley Hanover Consulting in December 2013 which suggests that 2,251 jobs at Heathrow could be lost to Slough alone should expansion go elsewhere.

Slough says 36% of total borough employment is with foreign owned companies which generally have larger workforces than nationally owned companies.

It believes the high percentage of foreign owned companies located in Slough is an indication of the importance of international connectivity to these companies. Slough’s close proximity to Heathrow is a key determinant of the location of these businesses, and an expanded Gatwick would see some firms relocating.

Slough also says there are also a number of companies located in Slough which rely on rapid connectivity for the receipt and delivery of high value freight and, again, these could shift to Gatwick.





Heathrow could make Slough a BETTER place says Council as Cabinet dismisses plea from Colnbrook

 19 JANUARY, 2015  (Colnbrook Views)

Slough’s most senior councillors will rubber stamp the Council’s response to the Airports Commission this evening, January 19. But unless there is an eleventh hour u-turn by Cabinet it will be viewed as a complete sell-out by Colnbrook residents.

Tonight is a key date in the countdown to the end of the Airports Commission final consultation. Slough Borough Council’s 8-member Cabinet will finalise its submission to Sir Howard Davies and is set to deliver Heathrow its strongest endorsement yet in support of a Colnbrook runway.

A draft response offers few sweeteners to residents in the Parish over and above a report considered by Cabinet last month. Authored by Slough’s Assistant Director Assets, Infrastructure and Regeneration, Joseph Carter, it tells you all you need to know about the focus Slough is taking.

Minutes from Cabinet’s December meeting, attended by two Colnbrook representatives, had indicated that Commissioners were considering the addition of “a number of potential mitigations” to the report – on issues such as noise, air quality and transport.

“The Cabinet recognised both the importance and complexity of this issue to the borough, particularly to Colnbrook, and agreed to submit a response setting out the priority mitigations. A number of specific comments were made for inclusion including on noise insulation and housing.”

While Cllr Hood had told Parish Council colleagues about his attendance at the December meeting it has emerged that Councillor Smith, ward councillor for Colnbrook with Poyle, had in fact joined him. Minutes record that they both explained in detail their views on the negative impacts Heathrow expansion would bring, including increased noise, air pollution and pressure on housing and public services.

The consultation is an opportunity for the Council to advance a package of benefits and improvements to the borough

However Cabinet, while asking officers to take specific points raised into consideration in drafting a response, appear at the same time to have ignored them, insisting “that many of the problems outlined were pre-existing”. Instead they considered that the consultation provided an opportunity for the Council “to advance a package of benefits and improvements to the borough”.

That theme is reinforced by the report accompanying the agenda item for tonight’s meeting.

In addition to a range of mitigations to the negative consequences of a Third Runway or extended northern runway, the paper says that expansion at Heathrow could improve the local area.

The report says that the Council could safeguard the economy or even benefit financially “by highlighting potential risks to the local economy”. But the draft response goes even further, listing a number of areas in which it expects significant financial compensation and existing projects which it wants Heathrow to step in and fund. Those include the Colnbrook to Heathrow stretch of the Slough Mass Rapid Transit bus scheme, the Western Rail Access to Heathrow (WRAtH) and an ambitious free public transport scheme extended to Slough.

By contrast, there is little of substance in the draft response that will give any hope in Colnbrook – but plenty that will antagonise. The Council is broadly welcoming of Heathrow’s proposal in its current form. It has labelled Heathrow’s compensation scheme “generous”. It has even suggested that more of the Green Belt will need to be redesignated (and welcomes its proposed “improvements” to the Colne Valley Park).

The Cabinet report says the its response to the Airports Commission should give residents confidence in their council to articulate their views and safeguard the future of the town. Quite what officers had been smoking when they wrote that is anybody’s guess.

Cabinet meets tonight at the Chalvey Community Centre, from 6:30pm. The meeting is open to the public.