Heathrow sends Colnbrook back to the Jurassic era as it publishes its revised Third Runway plans!
Heathrow today published a computer-generated representation of a post Third Runway Colnbrook with, let’s say, more than a touch of artistic licence thrown in.
In the absence of any significant details yet given to the public (the airport chose to submit its detailed plans to the Airports Commission only today) the image gives the first real taste of the true impact the airport’s own proposals will have on the village if it is allowed to get its way.
But, with swirling patches of fog, thick forests the like that haven’t existed in Colnbrook since Henry VIII went on his boat-building spree, and huge waterways, the village looks more like a Jurassic swamp than a realistic depiction of Colnbrook in 2026.
The easterly viewpoint does nearly as much as the dramatic greening of the entire area to distort the catastrophic affect the expansion would have and it may take you a few minutes even to locate Colnbrook. Why would anybody complain given it looks so much better than it does now? Or, to put it another way, given the residential areas are almost all supplanted with forest, who outside the village will really gain any appreciation of the devastation to come if the plans are approved.
A series of carefully choreographed announcements over the past few days may have won over objectors. No, the M25 won’t be closed; and, yes, the pitifully few 750 houses to be destroyed will be compensated at 25% above pre-blight market values.
We will also be spared the proposed Heathrow Congestion Charge, which the airport will impose on people taking their cars to the airport. That’s on top of the £3 tax and steep penalties Heathrow has imposed on even local taxi cab companies for every trip.
However the loss of yet more Green Belt to accommodate a diverted by-pass, a new junction off the M25, and a new roundabout will not endear the plans to Colnbrookians. Neither will the unsubtle expansion of local river systems shown on the image. With the Eric Mortimer Rayner Memorial Lakes practically doubling in size and the Horton Brook, Colne Brook and Poyle Channel seemingly big enough to get a boat down, it’s clear that there is something in today’s detailed plans that makes no bones about surface water management. In fact the enlarged footprint almost resembles the flood-hit areas in February!
The latest image confirms the runway will be significantly closer to the village than set out in the Davies Commission submission last July.
In its tick-in-the-box consultation booklet distributed at the start of the year Heathrow had already suggested the runway could be moved south of the Colnbrook By-Pass. No surprise then that Heathrow said today that its consultation with local communities (read “all local communities except Colnbrook) had identified the runway should be pushed farther south still. That will mean, it says, that 12,000 fewer people will be affected by ‘significant’ noise. Pippins will get a few more igloos and triple glazed classrooms will be replaced with concrete bunkers.
The detailed plans will now be scrutinised by Davies’ panel and we will be given the opportunity of a further consultation (wait, did we already have one?) later in the year. By then, who knows, just maybe we’ll have had a public meeting?
Until then, those clumps of forest just randomly dotted over the built-up areas are worth a look. Max up the zoom and you’ll see what I mean.