London City Airport appeal on expansion – blog by Alan on why Hacan East are fighting for the local communities
Newham Council granted planning approval in February for London City Airport’s plans for expansion, allowing an increase in the number of flights from 70,000 per year to 111,000 and almost double the number of passengers, up to 6 million a year by 2023. In March 2015 Boris Johnson refused the plans, on noise grounds. The airport appealed, and the hearing starts on 15th March. Alan Haughton, from the local campaign group Hacan East will be speaking at the appeal, against the airport’s plans, representing the interests of the local community. Alan has worked for many years, to oppose the high handed manner in which the airport (owned till very recently by GIP, as a means to make quick, huge, profit) rides roughshod over the interests of local people. In a blog, Alan explains why he and Hacan East have worked so hard, unpaid, to give their community a voice. Alan says: “What we see happening at London City Airport is happening across London. Developers and businesses, working closely with Local Councils, are forcing their will on Communities for profit. … We attend the Planning Enquiry with no QC, no legal representation, no ‘experts’. We can’t afford those. … For me though, it’s about justice, about community, about local residents and community groups standing together to defend our local environment.” Good luck, Alan.
THE LONDON CITY AIRPORT APPEAL BEGINS
14.3.2016 (Stop London City Airport Masterplan blog – by Alan)
The London City Airport Appeal into the Mayor’s decision to refuse its expansion begins on March 15th 2016 at City Hall. A Planning Inspector will hear the evidence and submit the case to the Secretary of State to make a final decision.
For me this enquiry is not just about an airport but is a reflection on everything that is wrong with with our local councils and our planning system. Residents and Communities have all but been obliterated from the decision-making process.
I get a lot of flack for campaigning on non-airport issues under the Stop City Airport banner. For me though, it’s about justice, about community, about local residents and community groups standing together to defend our local environment.
Whether that campaign is ‘environmental’, whether it is about homes, social cleansing, air quality, airports or roads, in most cases, the campaign is the voice of local people who have been sidelined from a decision that has been made without their input.
What we see happening at London City Airport is happening across London. Developers and businesses, working closely with Local Councils, are forcing their will on Communities for profit.
From lives blighted by noise to forced evictions and the demolition of local heritage sites, it is all for the benefit of a business that cares little for the community around it. Decisions made behind closed doors, to the benefit of the few, not the many.
I’ve been campaigning for nearly 10 years now against London City Airport and its expansion aspirations. Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) bought it in 2006 for £750 million and depart this year after achieving an asking price of a suggested £2 billion. That’s a £1.25bn profit. While they talked about being a good neighbour and promoted small token gestures offered to the local communities, it was all breadcrumbs from the table.
They wanted to sweat their asset and make astronomical profits on the backs of those around the airport. Mission Accomplished.
I have now being fighting this latest planning application for nearly three years, alongside my fellow campaigners.
Even after the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, refused the latest expansion application, the airport dug deep into its pockets and launched this appeal, and not content with that, also launched a Compulsory Purchase Order, to take from the Mayor, our land it needed for the expansion. Greed never sleeps.
HACAN East are a Rule 6 Party in the current Planning Appeal, meaning it gives us the same rights, the same clout as all other groups involved such as the Airport itself, the GLA and Newham Council.
We are fighting tooth and nail to kill this expansion off for good, to give residents that missing voice and to protect them as much as we can.
I am incredibly proud of the work we have done, not only in the past three years, but over the last decade. We have given residents a voice, forcing the airport to listen to those concerns. We have held the airport and Newham Council to account on this expansion, which I think is reflected in the near three year planning application.
We have cross party support from GLA members to local MP’s. Residents contact us for advice and guidance. We have worked, with no funding, no money, and just a will to protect our community from the relentless onslaught of a greedy airport operator.
We attend the Planning Inquiry with no QC, no legal representation, no ‘experts’. We can’t afford those. Hell, even for me to attend the Enquiry at City Hall for the 13 days will cost me over £75 in tube fares, never mind loss of income.
Most residents don’t have this luxury. So it’s just us, speaking for them. Making our arguments the best we know how. HACAN East will be the only people in the room, not being paid to be there.
We haven’t always got it right and made some mistakes along the way. But when you have a system designed to keep you out, sometimes you need to kick the door in.
Thanks to all our supporters that have taken this journey along with us. Whether it be a kind word, a retweet or filling out a consultation response, it has been much appreciated and valued.
Thank you very much.
See earlier, about the appeal and the planning application:
London City Airport challenges Boris’ decision to block its expansion plans, over ‘noise ghetto’ fears
Boris Johnson blocked London City Airport’s expansion plans in late March, as he said it would create a “noise ghetto” for people living under the flight path. Now, as expected, London City Airport has appealed to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clark, against the decision. On March 26th Boris ordered Newham council to reject the plans on the grounds of noise disturbance and because the airport was intended for business rather than leisure. Under the plans, take-offs and landings were expected to increase from 70,000 a year to 111,000,with passenger numbers doubling to 6 million by 2023. It would also be able to accommodate larger planes, (and be more profitable). This coupled with the airport’s plans to use new PBN technology to create a much narrower and concentrated flight corridor over Wanstead, Leytonstone and Leyton had prompted fears that noise could become an issue. The airport says it is appealing because of the jobs it creates, and its economic impact. The decision by Greg Clark could take 5 months.
Newham Council lacks the bravery of Boris to turn down unsuitable developments like City Airport expansion
On Saturday 25th April there was a local celebration party for people living in the Royal Docks area, close to London City Airport. They held their party to celebrate the fact that the London Mayor Boris Johnson had overturned Newham Council’s decision to grant permission for London City airport to expand. Local children have formed a lively choir, and they entertained the assembled guests. People who suffer from the noise from the airport are delighted that Boris has helped them, and opposed the airport’s environmentally-destructive plans that have been backed by the (Labour) Newham council. Though Newham argues that the airport would bring jobs for local people and local economic benefits, it actually provides little of either. No more than about 500 Newham residents are employed directly by the airport. The business passengers don’t linger round the airport, but head off to business meetings in the City or the West End. It was clear at Saturday’s event that the local community regards the airport on their doorstep not as a benefit but as problem which brings noise, air pollution and blight. They feel they might be better off with something else there. Compared to the nearby Excel Centre it provides far fewer jobs or wider economic benefit.
Boris turns down London City Airport expansion plans on noise grounds
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, has refused London City Airport’s plan to expand on noise grounds. In a letter he has instructed Newham Council, who had approved the application, to refuse it. The Mayor says the application does not “adequately mitigate and manage its adverse noise impacts.” Newham’s decision was always dependent on the Mayor’s approval. London City Airport wanted permission to build new taxiways to permit larger planes to use the airport. It also wanted more car parking spaces. The decision will be a bitter blow to the airport as it will now no longer be able to bring in the larger planes it wanted to serve new destinations. John Stewart, chair of HACAN East, which campaigned against the expansion plans, said “The airport is paying the price for being so cavalier about noise. Quite simply, Boris did not believe its claims that it was dealing adequately with noise. We salute his decision”. The decision appears to be final, and it is unclear whether London City Airport can appeal to the Secretary of State. They may do so.
London City Airport expansion plan gets go-ahead but campaigners say it will create ‘noise ghettos and misery’
Newham Council has granted planning approval London City Airport’s plans for an extended terminal, a new taxi-way and additional parking stands for larger aircraft. A new six-storey four-star hotel with up to 260 bedrooms will also be built on site. The expansion will increase the number of take-offs and landings at the airport from 70,000 a year to 111,000 and will almost double the number of passengers to 6 million a year by 2023. The number of aircraft stands will increase from 18 to 25, and the newer, larger planes they will accommodate will expand the airport’s reach from destinations in western Europe to Russia and North Africa. It has been described as a boost for London’s aviation capacity, while the arguments for and against a new runway at Heathrow or Gatwick (or neither) continue. There are claims for a large number of jobs, and Newham believes many will be for their residents – and there are claims of huge economic benefit for the local and UK economy. The expansion involves the tripling of the size of the terminal to 51,800 ft square and will see the number of flights increase from 38 to 45 during peak morning and evening rush hour times. Building work, subject to final planning approval being given by Boris, is expected to start by the end of 2015, with the first new aircraft seen on the runway in 2016.
3rd February: Newham to hear City Airport expansion application
On 3rd February Newham Council will hear City Airport’s application to expand. This, despite the fact that the latest public consultation on the application only closed on 23rd January. Clearly Newham council officers are quick readers! The agenda is with the Planning Officers report, in which they recommend to grant the planning application both for the hotel and the infrastructure, can be found at http://mgov.newham.gov.uk/ieAgenda.aspx?M=10678.
Time 6.00 p.m.
Venue: Main Hall, Old Town Stratford, 29 Broadway, London E15 4BQ
Campaign group back’s Boris’s bid to have final say on flight numbers at London City Airport
January 14, 2015
Campaign group HACAN East supports Mayor Boris Johnson’s bid to have the final say over flight numbers at London City Airport. The group is backing Boris to have the final say over the number of planes which are allowed to use the airport., and he wants to have the authority to veto any future proposals to do away with existing cap of 120,000 aircraft a year. The Mayor has said this in his response to the airport’s current consultation on its plans for expansion. HACAN East chair John Stewart, said, “We fully support the Mayor’s request. It is a nonsense that one London borough, Newham, should decide how many planes can use the airport when the impact of the airport affects vast swathes of London.” The current consultation does not involve any request by London City to increase flight numbers. What it wants is permission to build an extended taxiway and bigger parking stands so that larger aircraft can use the airport. It also wants to double the size of the terminal and provide more car parking spaces. The consultation closes on Friday 23rd January, with Newham expected to make a decision later in the year.