Study finds up to 45,000 new homes would be needed if second runway is built at Gatwick (From Redhill And Reigate Life)
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Study finds up to 45,000 new homes would be needed if second runway is built at Gatwick
10:40am Tuesday 3rd September 2013 in Local News
Up to 45,000 new homes would be needed if a new runway is built at Gatwick Airport. That is the conclusion of a study by independent consultants commissioned by West Sussex County Council and the business-led Gatwick Diamond Initiative. The study, carried out by Berkeley Hanover Consulting, claims the housing – which at 45,000 homes is the equivalent of a town larger than Hove and 5,000 more houses than in Crawley – would be needed to cope with a vastly increased workforce, dozens of new firms and the infrastructure required for the expanded airport. The prediction was included in a document published by the local authority titled “Implications of changes to airport capacity”.
Up to 5,000 new homes would be needed in 2015 to 2020, 15,000 in 2020 to 2025, and 25,000 in 2025 to 2030.
The findings were greeted by the Charlwood-based Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) as an indication that, if correct, “a new runway would lead to widespread urbanisation, serious pressure on schools and hospitals, and the loss of much dearly-loved countryside.”
GACC chairman Brendon Sewill said: “The more we find out, the more we doubt if the implications of the study were taken on board by members of the West Sussex County Council before they took their surprise decision in July to support a new runway.”
Mr Sewill of Stan Hill, Charlwood, said the study predicted that the number of jobs created by a new runway, plus the number of jobs created in firms attracted to the area by doubling the size of Gatwick, would be far in excess of any available labour.
He said a substantial influx of workers from other parts of the UK or from the European Union would be needed.
In a statement this week, GACC pointed out that much of Surrey is designated as Green Belt, but this is already under threat where planning policies are under review.
The group highlighted Crawley and Horsham as already having difficulty finding sites for a few thousand houses to meet current demand.
It said local councils would need to decide whether to build a whole new town or whether to add hundreds of new houses to every town and village - “perhaps a thousand houses added to forty villages!”
Mr Sewill added: “The Gatwick Diamond businessmen, who have been lobbying so hard to promote a new runway, also have some explaining to do.
“They sponsored this study so they can’t now disown it. Yet it shows that their dream of making Gatwick bigger than Heathrow could turn into a nightmare.”
Jeremy Taylor, chief executive of Gatwick Diamond Business, said he supported the findings but described their presentation as “alarmist”.
He said: “What the report also found was that if we don’t support a second runway we will see a decline of 10,000 jobs.
“GACC need to explain how our economy will recover should the runway be built elsewhere.
“The figures are alarmist. Maybe we could see 30,000 houses over ten to 15 years after 2025.”
The study comes as Crawley and Horsham councils, struggling to find suitable sites for a few thousand houses, are in the process of adopting their development plans, which will map out their area's blueprint for the next two decades.
Gatwick Airport has been making its case for a second runway to submit to the Aviation Commission.
Recommendations will be made to Government on potential runways after the next general election in 2015.
A spokesman for London Gatwick said: “Our initial forecasts show that expansion at Gatwick – for the largest capacity option submitted to the Airports Commission – could deliver up to 19,000 new jobs through to 2050.”
He said: “That equates to about 750 new jobs a year.
“We appreciate and understand that housing is an important issue locally, and during the next phase of our work, we will work closely, and in collaboration with, the local authorities, to understand whether those additional jobs will have any impact on existing housing plans for the region.”