More than 1,000 turn out to consultations
16th April 2014 – Crawley News
A MAJORITY of people questioned at a consultation on a second runway at Gatwick Airport strongly voiced their opposition, as anti-expansion groups petitioned outside.
Gatwick Airport Ltd held a public exhibition at Ifield Community College last Wednesday detailing its plans, if it is chosen as the Government’s preferred option for increasing airport capacity.
Visitors were provided with information on the three options for where an additional runway would be built. That included maps showing how an expanded airport would develop into parts of Crawley; how the major road network would change; wider transport schemes; the economic impact; and noise and environmental impacts.
The split in the room, which leaned heavily in opposition to the plans, was highlighted further when the Crawley News spoke to a selection of those present at random.
Of the ten people asked, seven were against the plans compared with three being in favour.
Janine Robins, director at Ifield Barn Theatre who lives in Langley Lane in Ifield, explaining why she is against the plans, said: “I feel this is the wrong place.
“The theatre is built in a conservation area and if a second runway is built it is going to be right under the path for takeoffs and planes circling over.
“How could we still hold weddings and shows with all that noise going on just above us?” Steve Mitchell, from Lavant Close in Gossops Green, was not persuaded to change his mind after visiting the exhibition and speaking to airport representatives.
He said: “I have lived in Crawley for over 20 years and I am completely against a second runway.
“There are already too many planes flying over Gossops Green at the weekends, creating too much noise.
“I have 15 a day at the moment and if a second runway means that doubles to 30, it will be disgusting and unbearable.
“Nothing will change my mind. Even if Gatwick offered me £20,000 in compensation a year I wouldn’t support it.”
One of the people most vocal in their support for Gatwick expansion was a 13-year-old deputy youth mayor for Crawley.
Hajid Hussain, from Langley Green, was representing the Crawley Young Persons Council, made up of 36 members aged 11 to 25, which is petitioning for a second runway to be built.
Hajid said: “I support option three (a wide-spaced runway which would accommodate arrivals and departures) and Gatwick also getting a new terminal.
“It will bring the most jobs which will help people my age and create an economic boost.
“There are disadvantages such as more pollution but I think there are more benefits.”
Mary Graffham, from Southgate Drive, in Southgate, believes expansion at Gatwick Airport would make travelling to long-haul destinations a lot easier.
Mrs Graffham said: “I like to travel with my husband and we often have to go to Heathrow because Gatwick doesn’t fly to as many long-haul spots.”
Among the details shared were the number of jobs which would be created. Option one would create 7,400, option two 15,200 and option three 17,500.
Major road network changes would include the M23 Junction 9 being improved with a new slip road added to nearly double its capacity.
Part of a new runway would lie over the A23 so it would have to be diverted, separating local and airport traffic.
Balcombe Road would be diverted between Radford Road and the M23 spur road.
The Lowfield Heath Road and Charlwood Road route would be lost through expansion and a short diversion of the Ifield Road would be created, close to where it crosses the River Mole.
Once visitors had finished at the public exhibition they were invited to comment in a consultation document.
A cross-party anti-second runway campaign group called One’s Enough, originally formed in 2003, has been resurrected and petitioned outside the exhibition.
John Byng, from the group, said: “We have seen off three previous attempts to expand Gatwick and we are going to see a fourth fail.”
More than 1,000 people have attended the two airport consultations in Crawley.
A total of 340 residents visited Ifield Community College last Wednesday, while 690 went to The Hawth on April 5.
Anyone living in Crawley who was unable to go to either of those public exhibitions but would like to find out more about the proposals and have their say can visit any of nine still to be held.
The nearest is at the Haven Centre, in Crawley Down, on April 25 between 4pm and 7.30pm.
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