Council raises concerns over lack of jobs in Slough from Heathrow expansion

Councillors have raised concerns over the expansion of Heathrow Airport after a study revealed that only 100 jobs would be created in Slough.

Slough Borough Council (SBC) has previously supported Heathrow’s plans for a third runway, but at an extraordinary cabinet meeting on Monday, councillors discussed the borough’s ‘robust’ response to the second consultation on the airport expansion.

The Heathrow Airport Expansion consultation includes the

‘preferred masterplan’ – which sets out where the proposed new runway will be, as well as plans to operate the future airport.

It also includes Heathrow’s assessment of the effects of the airport growth and its plans to manage these.

SBC’s concerns include the ‘lack of airport-related development in Poyle’, ‘direct active travel routes’ and ‘allocated bus lane provision’.

A report giving Slough’s response to the consultation said: “The masterplan has focused to the east in terms of new business, public transport connectivity, addressing air pollution and supporting broken communities.

“A study looking at economic growth predicted expansion without policy intervention will create an additional 31,000 jobs in the nine boroughs around the airport, with 29,600 in Hillingdon and Hounslow.

“At present only 100 will be within Slough.”

Cllr Rob Anderson (Lab, Britwell and Northborough) said at the St Martin’s Place meeting: “I am pleased we are putting back something pretty robust in terms of our response.

“I am disappointed with Heathrow that we are at this stage and they haven’t gone further to address some of the things that they knew were issues and we have been telling them were

issues for years.”

Council leader Cllr James Swindlehurst (Lab, Cippenham Green) told colleagues that the council is ‘using a very robust process now’.

“I want to make points where we think they are not delivering,” he said.

Cllr Martin Carter (Lab, Britwell and Northborough) added: “It does feel to me that we are right in the middle of the last knockings of negotiations. What I can see from this is, we are going for focus.”

The council finalised in its conclusion: “It should be recognised that this is not SBC no longer supporting the potential

benefits that a robustly planned expansion might bring, but more about the council standing front and centre to protect its residents and improve growth for our communities’.

SBC anticipates Heathrow to submit a Development Consent Order to the planning inspectorate in 2020, at which point formal objections can be made which will be considered during the six-month examination period.

Councillors unanimously agreed to approve the consultation response.

In response to the concerns raised, Heathrow community and stakeholder engagement director Rob Gray said: “We value Slough Council’s continued support for Heathrow expansion.

“Our focus has always been to work closely with the council, businesses and residents to develop our plans that will bring about opportunities for skilled jobs, apprenticeships, enhanced green space and a better-connected transport network for local people travelling to Heathrow for work and leisure.

“We welcome feedback and will be reviewing all comments on the preferred masterplan after our consultation closes on September 13.

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