‘Insufficient information’ in Gatwick masterplan, Chichester District Council to argue

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Gatwick’s masterplan looks set to receive another ‘not enough information’ response from a council in West Sussex.

The masterplan lays out three possible expansion ideas, including the controversial plan to bring the emergency runway into full-time use.

Discussions have seen some county councillors criticise the document as ‘vague’ and ‘lacking in detail’.

These views have been echoed in a report due to go before Chichester District Council’s cabinet next week.

Members will be asked to approve the council’s response to the masterplan as part of a 12-week public consultation, which ends on January 10.

While recognising the importance of the airport to the county, and the need to ensure it meets the needs of travellers, the report was not so clear when it came to plans for the emergency runway.

It said: “At this stage, insufficient information and evidence is available to fully inform a considered response to this option, particularly the potential noise impact on residents in the northern parishes of Chichester district, the existing infrastructure to the south of the airport and any potential additional need for housing arising in the wider area.

“Other associated impacts are also unknown eg the potential for a deterioration in air quality as a result of increased traffic congestion on local roads.”

There was support, though, for the idea of improving transport links between the airport and the district, including improvements to rail services and the north-south road network.

When asked about the amount of detail in the masterplan, airport spokesman Russell Guthrie said: “We are following best practice and consulting people early on our intentions.

“While this means that not all the detailed work has yet been worked up, more detailed plans, and a public consultation, are likely to follow if we pursue our plans to use our standby runway.”

Mr Guthrie added that Gatwick’s plans could have a ‘significant positive impact’ on local people, with the possibility of 20,000 new jobs and £2bn in economic growth.

The cabinet will meet in East Pallant House, Chichester, at 9.30am on Tuesday January 8. Members of the public are welcome to attend.