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Spelthorne calls for Heathrow to protect green space

Spelthorne Borough Council is calling for Heathrow to properly compensate communities for the loss of green space to airport-related development as expansion plans begin to take shape.

Many hotels, offices and car parks will need to be relocated from the north of the airport to make way for the new runway. Even sites which were created for communities following the development of Terminal 5 are now threatened by Heathrow's plans to build a third runway and sixth terminal building.

It is also clear that new roads will need to be built, and some existing roads realigned, further impacting on residents living in Spelthorne and, in July, the Council spoke out against Heathrow's plans to use Green Belt land to the south of the airport to create large amounts of parking.

Heathrow has pledged to compensate for loss of green space with enhanced areas of open space and a 'green loop' around the airport. This could include linked pedestrian paths, cycleways and nature-rich (biodiverse) areas. However, Spelthorne Council is concerned that this very narrow stretch will not go anywhere near making up for the large swathes of open space that would be lost, much of which is publicly accessible and important for wildlife.

We are therefore strongly advocating that, as an absolute minimum, usable open space that genuinely serves the communities of Stanwell and Stanwell Moor should be available. We have also commissioned a leisure study for the Stanwell area to explore what options could be offered by Heathrow to fully compensate for the loss of green open space.

Cllr John Boughtflower, Cabinet Member for Heathrow, said: "We recognise that new development can bring opportunities, but we want to ensure our residents fully benefit from it rather than being further blighted. We are calling for good quality open space and legacy benefits that include sport, leisure and community facilities for residents affected by expansion. We will be holding Heathrow to account on these and other important local issues to get the best possible outcome for our communities".

Heathrow plans to hold a series of community workshops towards the end of the year and a public consultation to include future airspace design, runway operations and ideas to grow Heathrow sustainably will start in January 2019.

In June 2019, Heathrow intends to carry out the statutory consultation needed to obtain the Development Consent Order (DCO) required for nationally significant infrastructure projects such as this. During this process they will consider responses from the previous consultations and seek views in the proposed scheme for expansion. They will also set out how they will manage and mitigate the effects of airport growth for communities.

The Council is strongly encouraging residents to take part in these workshops and respond to the consultations. This is the only way they can ensure their views are taken into account and reflected in the final scheme. The dates will be publicised once they become available.

We will continue to work directly with Heathrow, our neighbouring local authorities and others as expansion plans progress.

We will also continue to press Heathrow to meet our list of ten demands to get the best outcome for our communities.

Issued: October 2018

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