Steyning councillors discuss Gatwick woes

Sue Roger, Horsham District Council cabinet member for a safer and healthier district ENGSUS00120121218101031

Sue Roger, Horsham District Council cabinet member for a safer and healthier district ENGSUS00120121218101031

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STEYNING councillors have said they will give their ‘two cents’ when it comes to deciding on Gatwick’s second runway as residents continue to voice their concerns.

At Steyning Parish Council’s full meeting last Monday, Horsham District Councillor, Sue Rogers, said that her inbox has been filling up with messages of ‘worry’ from her constituents.

She said: “If the second airport is built at Gatwick it will increase the demand for houses in the area.

“It seems Gatwick’s affects might be minimal here, but my inbox has been filling up from people in the north worried about the impact of it on the infrastructure.

“It’s not our decision but it’s proper that we that we feed into the process like the affects of noise on the district.”

The Airports Commission published a detailed report in November 2014 which outlined the options to increase airport capacity by building a second runway at Gatwick or expanding Heathrow.

The report analysed the cost of each option, property loss and construction, the effect on communities, noise, and the economic benefits and environmental impacts.

County councillor for Bramber Castle, David Barling, said that it is not ultimately the council’s decision.

“This is huge. We’re not the decider but a lot of people think we are, but it’s a government decision,” said Mr Barling at the meeting.

“There’s not a vast number of houses that need to be demolished.”

Mr Barling continued to say that the parish is supportive of anything that will provide a lot of job opportunities, but their employment figures will be spread over a large geographical area and a long period of years.

“I would not like to say which way it will go,” added Mr Barling.

In a letter to West Sussex county councillors, MP for the district Nick Herbert expressed his concern that ‘the environmental impact of a second runway on rural West Sussex has not been fully understood’.

He also highlighted the impact of 250,000 more flights on the tranquil rural communities.

The MP claimed that a second runway would add to development pressures in West Sussex, ‘which are already acute’, pointing out that the council’s own study concluded that new jobs created by a new runway would require 30,000 to 45,000 new houses, equivalent to a new town the size of Crawley or 1,000 houses added to 40 villages.

Mr Herbert said: “I believe that the public should be made fully aware that local plans which are already requiring controversial housing developments would have to be revised if a second runway were agreed; that villages would be required to take even more housing with more loss of countryside and green spaces; and that deeply unpopular proposed major developments such as the Mayfield new town would be more likely to win approval.

“I do not believe that significantly more housing than already planned could be allocated in West Sussex over the next two decades without fundamentally risking the rural character of much of our county and causing public concern.”

More details on the runway and the county council’s draft response can found at www.westsussex.gov.uk