I hope I’m wrong about Gatwick second runway, but I fear that whatever our strength of feeling, either way, will carry little or no weight with Government decision makers.
Democratic input from the population of Crawley on the question of expanding Heathrow, Gatwick or Nowhere Yet will be about as close to zero as you can imagine.
What we can and should be doing under these circumstances, I suggest, is planning for resilience to each of the possible outcomes. Perhaps we should start by saying to Gatwick Airport CEO Stuart Wingate, yes please, let’s start spending some of your £46 million on infrastructure planning now. Let’s see Gatwick Airport, Crawley Borough and West Sussex County Councils agreeing a non-partisan brief for Gatwick’s currently appointed prestigious and highly regarded architects and urban planners Farrells, authors of the acclaimed Review for Architecture and the Built Environment, to come up with integrated Crawley / Gatwick infrastructure plans –both green and conventional – to make the very best of each of the possible decisions.
This way, if Stuart Wingate does not get his new runway, at least he will have the satisfaction of knowing that the much heralded decline of his airport and its neighbouring service town will have been expertly planned to mollify the misery of future generations.
Like any reasonable neighbour, Crawley needs to keep an eye on Mr Wingate just paving over and parking his taxi on Crawley’s front garden.
John Cooban, tree warden, Three Bridges