Potential 2nd Gatwick Runway
February 2014 PH(N)RA Analysis
This document has been prepared to highlight the potential and specific issues of a 2nd runway as they might affect our Pound Hill neighbourhood. It has been prepared at this time to ensure that our members are aware of the potential issues ahead of the campaigning that will take place as soon as Gatwick Airport Ltd (GAL) produce their detailed plans in May and ahead of the formal consultation due in October of this year.
A recommendation, proposing which airport (Gatwick or Heathrow) should have an additional runway will be submitted to the Government by the Airports Commission after the next General election in May 2015.
The notes below are based on information “gleaned and/or interpreted” from The Airports Commission, GAL, WSCC and GACC documents and press releases.
Best Currently Available Map Of Potential Runway And Airport Boundary
This map does not show location of a third terminal or other on airport buildings.
Key Analysis Points Relating To Pound Hill (based on the above map):
- Airport boundary may potentially be approximately ¾ mile from Pound Hill North
- A 2nd Runway flight path may potentially be less than ¾ mile from Pound Hill North as aircraft are not required to always take off directly in line with the runway with a wider airspace to enter immediately after takeoff and will be able to bear south as soon as possible. It is likely that departing aircraft could be crossing the Balcombe Road somewhere between Steers Lane and Radford Road.
- With more aircraft in the skies and a 2nd runway closer to Pound Hill, there is the potential for more frequent, lower and noisier “go around” aircraft immediately over our homes.
- The open areas on both sides of the Balcombe Road between Radford Road and the Gatwick Jnct 9 link Road are all shown as being “safeguarded” to potentially be part of the airport.
- All of the areas highlighted for the expanded airport boundary are apparently within the overall Gatwick flood plain, therefore, potentially making both the airport and surrounding areas at higher risk of flooding in the future.
- The Balcombe Road, Radford Road (including Railway Bridge) and Antlands Lane/Shipley Bridge are all shown as entering the airport boundary. 2003 proposals showed potential for the Balcombe Road being diverted out to and alongside the M23.
- With the increased traffic on the M23/M25 it is likely that the existing “rat runs” from the A22 in the east will be more heavily used, all additionally converging on the area through Antlands Lane and Copthorne Road.
- The north end of the proposed NE Sector (Forgewood) housing will be within one or two hundred metres of the airport boundary along Radford Road and almost under the flight path.
- With the building of the NE Sector, the proposed alterations to traffic flows on the Balcombe Road and Crawley Avenue, together with increased traffic are likely to cause additional congestion all along the Balcombe Road from Maidenbower through to Antlands Lane.
- If the 2nd runway is approved, then, perhaps, the builders may choose to downsize the NE Sector development, potentially leaving part of the area available for industrial/ business/ airport parking development.
- To build the 2nd runway it is likely that many/most industrial/business units in and around James Watt Way, Priestly/Rutherford Way and Sterling Park (ScrewFix) may need to be demolished and relocated.
- If the A23 between the existing airport underpass and the County Oak junction with Fleming Way is to be put in a tunnel under the expanded airport, it is possible that many of the industrial/business units along the north side of Fleming way may also need to be demolished and relocated. Based on a GAL comment that the A23 could be extended along the railway line, this could potentially allow a tunnel (or perhaps a surface road) to be built alongside the railway line with its entrance/exit/link in the area near to Fleming Way and Gatwick Road junction then potentially with a link road down to the County Oak A23 junction.
- With the extra aircraft movements, twice the number of passengers, increased airport servicing, parking, etc. Pound Hill will, along with other northern neighbourhoods, be subjected to increased air and noise pollution and traffic congestion.
- It is unlikely that Gatwick Airport Ltd (GAL) will pay for improved roads to avoid traffic congestion in and around Crawley.
- The benefits of a second runway at Gatwick are clearly economic, in so much that it will bring additional mass employment (19000 airport jobs, many not highly paid) plus additional jobs created as new companies migrate into the area. In most “pro runway” discussions it is left unsaid that, as Crawley has minimal unemployment, currently 2.5% (approx 3% for young people), most of the jobs will have to be filled by a major labour force migration from all across the UK and the EU and daily commuters from other towns in West Sussex that have a much higher unemployment rate.
- Commuting by rail into Crawley and Gatwick will put additional strain on the existing rail services, with further overcrowding on already overcrowded commuter services. The Brighton Line is already at capacity and the additional proposed travellers using trains to reach London, will just not be feasible, even with an extra platform at Gatwick.
- Many people in Crawley appear to support a 2nd runway solely in the belief that it will bring ongoing employment to the existing families of Crawley and that if the 2nd runway is not built, then jobs will be lost, not realising the cost to theirs and their children’s’ own personal environment.
- The potential reality, if a 2nd runway is not built, is that the cost to airlines using Heathrow is likely to be expensive and only the major global airlines requiring a “hub style” airport are likely to make their operational bases there, with all others looking for a cheaper alternative that Gatwick will be able to provide, with only a relatively small operation at Heathrow.
- With the proposed additional 19000 new jobs, a report produced for WSCC and The Gatwick Diamond group suggested a requirement for 40,000 additional new houses in the Gatwick Area, which would effectively remove most green open land around the area, especially around Crawley, Copthorne, Crawley Down, Horsham, Horley, Redhill and Reigate. Copthorne, Old Hollow to Junction 10A Balcombe Rd and Crawley Down are likely local development locations, all previously identified for development.
- It is unlikely that GAL will contribute much if anything to the development of the required new schools, hospitals, basic infrastructure, etc..
- With a migration of people wanting and willing to take relatively low paid shift work jobs at the airport, it is possible that all of Crawley’s northern neighbourhoods could over the coming years be overtaken by “dormitory” style accommodation. A recent National News Paper reported that several areas immediately adjacent to Heathrow have a large migrant population some living in garden sheds and some on a shift basis.
If residents believe that a 2nd runway at Gatwick will be detrimental to their and their children’s lives, despite the promise of economic benefits to the wide area and not specifically to Crawley, then they MUST make their voices heard by:
- Joining GACC to show support for their campaign,
- Writing letters and emails to the press, WSCC, CBC , Local Councillors and our MP Henry Smith
- Attending any community meetings, again to show their support.
and most critically
- Responding to all consultation programmes that will be available during the next 6/9 months.
The folks living around Heathrow will be doing the same and are exceedingly well supported and professional in their activities.
If residents really believe that a vastly detrimental environment is worth the few jobs that will potentially be available for the children and grandchildren of existing Crawley residents, then perhaps they might consider:
- Whether or not the next generations will really want to live in such an environment.
- As parents and grandparents, if they would want something better for our future generations.
PH(N)RA will be monitoring all stages and steps and will communicate direct to our members.
We would welcome your thoughts on this issue.