Harold Wilson once observed that a ‘week is a long time in politics’ and surely enough, debates on the second Gatwick runway saw much repositioning by local councils last week.
On Friday 16th January, I advised a packed meeting in Warnham Village Hall, that HDC’s ruling group proposed not to support the Gatwick option. I said that I would instead be proposing a ‘strong objection’.
Accordingly I emailed my proposal to HDC, prior to the ruling Group’s meeting on Monday 19th, ready to argue the case at the council meeting on Wednesday 21st.
It was thus a pleasant surprise to find (before the start of the council meeting) that I had been pushing at an open door and that the ruling group had indeed changed their proposal from ‘not to support’, to a ‘strong objection’.
Of course WSCC previously supported the second runway ‘in principle’ and their U-turn on Monday 19th might well have emboldened HDC’s ruling group to strongly object, as I had proposed. We may never know.
Now with some consensus emerging amongst councils, we should use strength of numbers to avoid overloading of road and rail networks, plus the NHS and schools, along with the noise and pollution that would come with a second runway.
We will also need to see that the results of public consultation are properly evaluated and that residents are not left to pick up the tab for large infrastructure funding gap. No doubt our local MPs will be working on that.
Horsham district councillor for Chanctonbury and UKIP parliamentary candidate for Horsham, North Street, Horsham