Disappointment in Eastbourne after Gatwick expansion vetoed

Gatwick Airport control tower with aircraft in flight in background SUS-150705-150051001
Gatwick Airport control tower with aircraft in flight in background SUS-150705-150051001

The news that the much hoped for expansion and second runway at Gatwick Airport has not been recommended this morning has been met with disappointment in Eastbourne.

MP Caroline Ansell said she was disappointed to see the Davies Commission for airport expansion had recommended Heathrow, rather than what she called the more obvious choice of Gatwick.

The Davies Commission report, released this morning (Wednesday), said the economic benefits of expanding Gatwick would be ‘considerably smaller’ than those of expanding Heathrow.

The report says its conclusions are ‘clear and unanimous’, with Heathrow being the preferred option. However, the Government will not make its final decision until later this year.

Eastbourne Borough Council and East Sussex County Council both backed the Gatwick expansion plan along with Caroline Ansell.

She said today, “As a nation we should be ambitious and forward looking, and I believe the Gatwick case was stronger. It could be delivered earlier, has less environmental impact and without doubt was better for our area with a large proportion of the development and staffing being sought from local people, including many from Eastbourne and Willingdon. So it was better for the country, the environment and our town.

“However this is not the end of the battle. This is just a recommendation, and the Government won’t make a final decision until much later in the year, so there is still time to press our case, and I will continue to do so.”

Eastbourne Chamber of Commerce boss Christina Ewbank said the organisation was also disappointed at the news as any expansion at Gatwick Airport would bring economic diversity across the area with more jobs and better connections locally.

She also said that anticipated improvements to the Lewes/Polegate A27 facilitated by the Gatwick expansion would benefit businesses travelling east and west across the county as travel reliability improves and relieve some of the pressure on Wealden’s roads which are reportedly the fifth most dangerous in the country by district.”

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