Expansion at Gatwick Airport could lead to the loss of one-third of Manor Royal, councillors have warned.
At an Extraordinary Meeting of the full council on Thursday (September 26), a number of councillors expressed concern about the impact a second runway could have on the town.
Cllr Sally Blake (Con, Pound Hill North) predicted expansion at Gatwick could see the airport reach as far south as County Oak.
She said: “There is a buffer zone between Crawley and Gatwick and this would no longer be the case. A wide-spaced runway would come up to County Oak.
“If this goes ahead, there would not be a Crawley, just an extension of Gatwick.”
Her concerns were echoed by Cllr Richard Burrett (Con, Pound Hill North), who said: “We would lose quite a large chunk of Manor Royal, and that’s not something that seems to have been addressed.”
Cllr Keith Blake (Con, Gossops Green) added: “No one has put forward the down side to such a development - how much it’s going to cost the town, its people and the area.”
Regarding the concerns of his colleagues, Cllr Blake added: “How many jobs are we going to lose for this?”
Business chiefs dismissed the idea that so much of Manor Royal could be lost, but acknowledged City Place – home to Nestle – would be a casualty of expansion .
Jeremy Taylor, chief executive of Gatwick Diamond Business, said: “The belief we would lose one-third of Manor Royal is unfounded because, even at its widest of 1,035m, it would impact part of Gatwick Road and not the one-third.
“By 2025 – which is the earliest we would see this happen - there will be a different air traffic control regime which will allow for safer, narrower runways to operate within the footprint of land identified.”
Steve Sawyer, executive director of the Manor Royal Business District said: “It is not my understanding that a third of Manor Royal would be lost under any proposed second runway, although some commercial space would be lost including City Place and parts of Manor Royal on the northern boundary including part of County Oak. But not as much as a third. However, we need to see the detail.”