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Three quarters of residents support Gatwick’s growth plans say airport as one opponent says ‘poll stinks’

The polling was commissioned by Gatwick Airport to gather the views of local residents, following publication of its draft master plan in October.

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Gatwick has released the results of a poll they commissioned but the results have not been welcomed by opponents.

The results according to the YouGov poll say that three quarters of residents (74%) in Sussex, Surrey and Kent who were surveyed support Gatwick’s plans to increase capacity by making better use of its existing runways – with only 14% opposing.

It also says that a similarly high proportion (67%) surveyed also supported Gatwick’s plans to continue safeguarding land south of the airport – in the national interest – in case it is ever needed for a new runway to meet future long-term demand. Only 16% opposed this concept.

But one opponent, Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions (CAGNE), has hit back saying: “Consultation and poll stinks of propaganda.”

CAGNE say they have written to the Civil Aviation Authority demanding that the current consultation, being carried out by Gatwick Airport concerning the Master Plan for their 15 year plan, be dismissed as nothing more than a profile-raising stunt to increase share price whilst misleading people in providing little details to allow and informed opinion.

“This whole process stinks,” says CAGNE. “Residents thought that the
airport expansion debate was over, that Heathrow had won, but here we are
with Gatwick Airport seeking a 2nd runway by the back door and deceiving
local people and businesses to the true facts of what it will mean by
Gatwick adding 70-95m passengers and tens of thousand of extra workers to
the congested roads and single railway line that cannot be expanded.”

But Gatwick say that thirty eight per cent of those who supported Gatwick’s plans did so because of the potential increase in the airport’s contribution to the local economy (e.g. jobs, trade, investment); 32% recognised the potential increase in travel connections and 27% because the airport already owned the land required to increase capacity.

Stewart Wingate, CEO, Gatwick Airport, said:

“These results show that an overwhelming majority of residents in Sussex, Surrey and Kent who were surveyed both support our plans for growth and recognise how important they are in terms securing the region’s economic prosperity and new jobs for generations to come.

“Our draft master plan sets out our vision for the airport’s sustainable growth into the 2030s and explains how it can meet the UK’s increasing demand for air travel and global connectivity. The plan would help us to bolster the national and local economies for future generations and I encourage as many people as possible to take part in our ongoing consultation process.”

The public consultation on Gatwick’s draft master plan runs until 10 January 2019 and can be accessed here.

Gatwick

Gatwick Airport Station could double in size as £150m upgrade announced

Tens of millions of rail passengers travelling to and from Gatwick Airport will benefit from improved accessibility and swifter journeys, after the Department for Transport (DfT) announced a £150 million scheme to upgrade the station.

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The renovation will reduce train delays caused by platform overcrowding and congestion, while also improving passenger experience by providing easier connections to other destinations.

Planned upgrades will include doubling the size of the station concourse, adding five new lifts and eight escalators to improve passenger flow, and widening two platforms to reduce overcrowding.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:

“With 46m people now using Gatwick Airport every year and 20m coming by train, it is vital that we make the station more accessible and customer friendly for those travelling through it. The UK’s second largest airport has direct rail links to more than 120 destinations and is an important public transport hub.

“We want to see Gatwick Airport’s success continue to flourish and ensure that it is ready for even more passengers in the future. Through this £150 million investment, we will deliver vital upgrades to boost the station’s capacity and provide better, seamless journeys for all.”

Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive Officer, Gatwick Airport said:

“Gatwick has been transformed in recent years and the redesigned train station will take the airport’s redevelopment to the next level by providing a seamless transition between the airport and the station, more lifts, escalators and a doubling in the size of the concourse.

“The new station will complement the huge improvements to rail services at the airport, which include new fleets of Gatwick Express and Thameslink trains and services that now leave the airport for London every three minutes – as frequently as services on the tube.

“The project is a fantastic example of the public and private sector working together to deliver a world-class transport hub that will comfortably manage the expected growth in air passengers and also encourage people to switch to rail as part of our push to get more people to travel to the airport by public transport.” 

The number of people using Gatwick Airport station each year has grown by six million since 2010. Currently the station is not designed for the high volume of daily passengers, often carrying bulky luggage.

The renovation will be managed by Network Rail, in partnership with DfT. Gatwick Airport Ltd and Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership are co-funding the project with £37m and £10m respectively.

Paul Harwood, Director of Investment for Network Rail, said:

“The transformational enhancement to Gatwick Airport station will provide passengers with a much smoother and more pleasant experience and also reduce train delays.

“Along with the recent improvements on the Brighton Main Line and our record £4.3 billion funding settlement for maintaining, operating and renewing the railway over the next five years, this investment is excellent news for passengers, businesses and the economy.”

Patrick Verwer, Chief Executive Officer of Govia Thameslink Railway, said:

“This much-needed scheme will deliver real benefits for passengers thanks to enhanced platforms, new lifts and a larger concourse. At such a busy station these upgraded facilities will significantly contribute to the smooth running of our services for travellers getting to and from the airport.”

Jonathan Sharrock, Chief Executive at Coast to Capital said:  

“If our economy is to grow, we need a transport network that supports faster, more reliable, and less polluting journeys for business, leisure and freight travel. Gatwick airport is an international destination and its station is a gateway to London and the wider Coast to Capital area.

“This plan will greatly improve the interchange for commuters, visitors and business which will support the sustainable growth of the area with Gatwick airport at its heart.

“We are delighted to have contributed £10 million and look forward to working with partners to deliver a better experience for passengers.”

The improvement works will start in Spring 2020 and will take around two years to complete. The works will be sequenced to ensure minimum disruption.

The government is investing a record £48bn to modernise the country’s rail network and deliver significant improvements in performance, punctuality and capacity.

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