Crawley council and businesses call for quick decision on Gatwick Airport

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A business group and Crawley council have urged the Government to make a quick decision on airport expansion.

The Airports Commission has backed expansion at Heathrow Airport instead of Gatwick.

Chairman Sir Howard Davies said today (Wednesday July 1): “The Gatwick scheme is feasible, but the additional capacity would be more focused on short-haul intra-European routes and the economic benefits considerably smaller.”

Steve Sawyer, executive director of the Manor Royal Business Improvement District (BID), said the recommendation was a ‘big disappointment’.

The BID, which is home to 500 companies and 30,000 employees, has backed plans for a second runway at the airport.

Mr Sawyer said: “This long-awaited recommendation is a big disappointment to many in the business community who support expansion at Gatwick.”

He said there could be more delays because of caveats attached to the recommendation.

The BID wanted the safeguarded land around Gatwick to be released for development if Heathrow was chosen. He said there was ‘an acute shortage of employment and housing land’ in the area.

A spokesman for Crawley Borough Council said it acknowledged the negative economic impact Heathrow expansion could have on the town.

The spokesman said: “As such, the council is calling on the Government to both make a prompt decision and take steps to ensure any expansion at Heathrow does not result in a decline for other UK airport towns.”

The council voted against Gatwick expansion in January.

Peter Lamb, Leader of Crawley Borough Council, said: “Nevertheless, councillors are committed to ensuring the future prosperity of the town and will work positively with stakeholders—without prejudice and regardless of future decisions made by central government.”

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