At a seminar at MIPIM last week, Hounslow Leader Steve Curran stopped short of backing Heathrow expansion, despite pressure from business leaders.
Cllr Curran stuck to the councils’ “better not bigger” mantra when questioned by COlin Stanbridge of the London Chamber of Commerce. The other panelists, were keen that Heathrow should expand. However, Cllr Curran stopped short of that.
All panelists agreed that whatever the political make-up of the next government, a speedy decision must be made on the future of Heathrow once the Airports Commission makes its final report this summer.
Cllr Curran did acknowledge that Heathrow is hugely important to the Hounslow economy, saying it provides “thousands of jobs for our residents”, and that “any delay in making a decision following the Airports Commission’s report will lead to continuing uncertainty which would be catastrophic for investment, jobs and prosperity throughout west London and the Thames Valley.”
He continued: “Whichever way the decision goes, we will respond in the best interests of our residents and businesses. We have already started to formulate plans for development of the west of our borough that will build on our strengths.”
Nigel Milton said: “Hounslow is perfectly located to take advantage of Heathrow expansion. The improvements to infrastructure and surface access that would result from expansion would result in a step change in opportunities for Hounslow, its residents and the businesses located in Hounslow.”
Allan Holland, said: “Many of our customers are based in Hounslow providing supply chain services to Heathrow or using the airport to export and import high value products or raw materials. It is absolutely vital that politicians understand the strength of feeling from the business community over Heathrow expansion.
“97 per cent of our customers recently surveyed say that airport expansion is important for the long term economic success of the UK. We urge all parties to agree to take a decision on airport expansion as quickly as possible after Howard Davies submits his report. ”
Cllr Curran’s presence at MIPIM, held in Cannes, France, was paid for by some of the larger developers operating, or hoping to operate, in Hounslow.