The Mayor and Council will come together on March 31 to show their vision for the community that could replace Heathrow. “Heathrow Park: A Better Future For Heathrow” picks up on the recent trend for garden cities, and will attempt to persuade that closing West London’s main economic driver would be a good idea.
Hillingdon Council have made it clear they would like to see the airport closed, despite the 8,000 direct jobs held there by borough residents and the historic positive effect of the airport on the borough economy. They, and the Mayor, would prefer to see the UK’s hub airport relocated to the Thames Estuary, a move which, say reports, could strip over 300,000 jobs from the West London and Thames Valley economy as companies relocate.
Hillingdon Leader Ray Puddifoot told the Uxbridge Gazette: “If it were to happen (the closure of Heathrow) it would not be a challenge; it would be an opportunity.”
The Mayor’s Heathrow Park vision is to show two possible outcomes – a smaller airport, and total closure. He, and Hillingdon Council believe that redeveloping the Heathrow site as homes and employment space would create a place people would want to live and work.
Important questions about the vision remain unanswered – in particular which companies would choose to locate somewhere with worse international connections than Crawley, Luton or Harlow, and who would choose to live on the Heathrow site if there are few available jobs nearby.
While it’s obviously difficult to be specific about which particular organisations will come in to replace the existing jobs and provide more for the proposed c.250,000 population of Heathrow Park it would be good to have an indication of which sectors of the economy would find a Heathrow shorn of international connectivity an attractive location.
Place West London will be discussing this concept, along with the possible effects of expansion at Heathrow, at our first event of the year on May 12 – Heathrow at the crossroads.