LETTER: Let’s have less stroppy letters

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I have not been surprised at the response to Frances Haigh’s article about Gatwick Airport and her subsequent need to reply to Jim Rae’s rant and demonstrating the need to read before you comment.

This is rather similar to the rather intemperate letter from Adrian Lee who I notice was equally so over the matter of the removal of the chief executive at WSCC.

Fortunately he does then move the debate along with his experience of the aviation industry. Certainly due to the infrastructure that Heathrow has with better links to London, that does seem to be a logical conclusion.

The difficulty is that those poor souls, living where the runway could be, would be displaced. In Britain we seem to have a knack of building airports and then surrounding them with houses such that expansion is difficult.

Lib Dems actually at conference took the view that they were not happy with another runway anywhere. The consensus of opinion of ‘those in the know’ is that more is needed. However we must await the Davies Report and whatever happens the Government would consider it to be of such national importance that it would force it through. We would then have to accept it and move on.

However because Gatwick is in the frame the land that would be required for the second runway could not be touched for any further alternative development even if it was to be turned down this time round.

At the Examination of the local plan in its first week this was stated quite emphatically. The result is that Crawley does not have sufficient space for employment growth.

As Horsham does have little in the way of constraints now that the Conservatives have removed the Strategic Gap between Horsham and Crawley, we are at risk of even more houses and employment buildings. The latter may be a good thing but rather depends on the type of employment. Call centres and warehousing do not pay high enough wages for employees to live in Horsham or at least less likelihood.

We read plenty of letters from people either in favour of or against a second runway, but as ever it depends on which side they are on as to whether they represent ‘all the people of Horsham’ or just their particular friendship group or alliance or with professional experience of the benefits of Gatwick/Heathrow.

I can see the potential benefits of Gatwick expansion of more employment, assuming the extra staff are not just bussed in from elsewhere. I can also appreciate the disadvantage, having spent the first 25 years of my life in Wandsworth under the flight path for Heathrow. With rather noisier planes it was something you either got used to or not.

A second runway could put paid to North of Horsham plans but could put even more pressure for a lot more housing.

So let’s try to have less stroppy letters and more reasoned and measured argument. It would be the best for all of us but maybe less so for the County Times Editor!

You would have noticed I have not given a preference because I am not an expert. I just want to know that jobs would not be adversely affected in our area, that there would be more opportunities and that residents of Horsham would not need to travel to Heathrow or Stansted to fly off on holiday because of a ‘wrong’ type of decision.

The country is already starting to be outmanoeuvred due to airports in Europe being better prepared. When I was teaching in Crawley I covered a lesson for a geography colleague. The students’ project was the development of Gatwick Airport, and this was 15 years ago. I asked them what their thoughts wereon another terminal/runway. They were all in favour and when asked why they said ‘jobs’.

GODFREY NEWMAN

(LDem) Horsham district councillor for Forest ward, North Street, Horsham