Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign
Phoney Consultation – Press Release 23rd March 2014
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First Forge Wood homes will start to spring up in summer
Council gives go-ahead for first 204 properties
19th March 2014 – Crawley News
THE first homes in Crawley’s newest neighbourhood are set to start springing up in the summer.
A planning application for phase 1A, of the Forge Wood development was approved at a Crawley Borough Council planning committee last Monday.
This gives the go-ahead to the building of the first 204 homes out of up to 1,900 which will eventually be constructed on land north of Pound Hill.
The initial work on the neighbourhood, which was previously referred to as the North East Sector will also see the creation of access roads, pavements, cycle paths and open space.
At the committee meeting 13 councillors voted in support of the application with one, Conservative councillor Alan Quirk, voting against the plan.
Cllr Quirk, who represents Broadfield South, does not feel that some of the houses are big enough and fears the road layout could cause traffic problems.
He said: “The report said some of the houses would be smaller than the council’s norm, as would be some of the gardens.
“The (council) officer said that the affordable housing wouldn’t be affected (by being smaller than normal) but the private housing would be. It would be a case of buyer beware.
“The private housing should meet the same requirements as the affordable housing.”
Having just one main road into the neighbourhood also concerns Cllr Quirk, as he believes this could cause traffic problems.
But Cllr Quirk added that he wasn’t against the Forge Wood development.
He said: “We need the houses. I want to ‘see it get off the ground.”
A total of 59 of the 204 properties approved in the first phase would be affordable homes. Labour councillor Peter Smith, the shadow member for planning and economic development, said: “There is
less than the 40 per cent affordable housing but it was phase 1A that was passed and the subsequent housing at Forge Wood will bring more affordable housing forward.
“It is disappointing as we want to see it as soon as we can, but in the totality of the development there will be the correct allocated level of affordable housing.
“Crawley urgently needs more affordable housing for the people on the waiting list.”
Some 532 of the 1,900 properties planned at Forge Wood will be council houses and 228 will be shared ownership homes.
APPROVED: How some of the Forge Wood homes will look
Extra airport compensation offer labelled ‘publicity stunt’ by critics
12th March 2014 – Crawley News
HOUSEHOLDS most affected by noise from a second runway at Gatwick would receive £1,000 a year in compensation if the airport is picked for expansion.
Gatwick Airport has pledged to contribute the money towards the annual council tax bills of up to 4,100 homes if and when a second runway becomes operational.
Homes in parts of Ifield, Langley Green and Copthorne, most of Tinsley Green and all of Lowfield Heath, would be eligible to receive the money.
The compensation is the equivalent to the annual council tax charge on a Band A property.
Stewart Wingate, the airport’s chief executive, said: “Expansion at Gatwick would, without doubt, deliver many upsides for our local community in terms of jobs and investment.
“But we must also recognise the negative noise impacts on local people from more flights.
“Gatwick ’s location obviously means that comparatively fewer people would be affected by a new runway (compared to Heathrow).
“However, I believe we must do more to help those that would be affected.”
However, the as-yet-unbuilt 1,900 homes in Crawley’s 14th neighbourhood of Forge Wood, north of Pound Hill, will not be included within the scheme, as it is assumed anyone moving there will be fully aware of Gatwick’s intentions.
For the same reason, compensation will also not be available to residents who move into the affected area after Gatwick applies for planning permission to build a second runway.
This approval would be sought if the airport is picked by the Airports Commission as its choice for a new runway and the decision subsequently backed by the Government.
Airport bosses have pointed to Civil Aviation Authority figures which show 3,650 people living in 1,600 homes around the airport are affected by aircraft noise today. This is in comparison to Heathrow, where almost 240,000 people living in 100,000 homes are impacted.
However, the compensation scheme has been called a “publicity stunt” by one critic. Peter Jordan, of the Ifield Village Conservation Area Advisory Committee, said: “We live 500 yards from where jets would climb out of Gatwick from the proposed new runway.
“In spite of that, we are just outside the area covered by Gatwick ’s offer of council tax re payments.
“This is just a publicity stunt to try to get Crawley residents on board for a new runway.
“It sounds generous until you look at who gets it and how much we would lose. Even if we got the grant, it would take 150 years for the grant to cover the loss of value of our house.”
Mr Jordan believes there isn’t the need for a new runway. He added: “Gatwick Airport is trying to kid us that a new runway means lots of jobs for Crawley residents – but the jobs would
attract incomers from the UK and the EU who would need new houses in an area that is desperately short of affordable homes.
“We existing residents would see our carefully-planned country town double in size to become a sprawling city spreading over green countryside.
“I hope nobody will be fooled by Gatwick ’s offer or by their promises of a golden future for Crawley.”
An airport spokeswoman said the council tax offer would be in addition to another incentive whereby certain affected homeowners can apply for up to £3,000 towards the cost of double glazing and loft insulation.