REVEALED: Full extent of Heathrow’s plans for Colnbrook published

Heathrow Airport has dramatic plans for Colnbrook if it gets its way over the Third Runway, and they can now be revealed in full.  Its 1,000 page submission to the Airports Commission is now in the public domain, and it makes compelling reading for anybody living in the village.

heathrows plan for colnbrook image

Still marked with “Legally Privileged and Confidential”, Heathrow’s three-volume submission to the Davies Commission is now publicly available at, a site set up by the Heathrow Media Centre.

In contrast to its Sipson Third Runway proposals Heathrow has thrown the kitchen sink at its pet project this time around, with a master plan that claims to address the loss of green spaces, improves biodiversity, and even safeguards against the recent flooding.

It needed to.  While locally the mood is one of resignation – and rumours abound that construction has already begun – in Westminster the question of a Third Runway at Heathrow still remains toxic.

So Heathrow’s plans don’t  just cover the enlarged airport site, but includes both Biffa’s landfill site adjacent to Sutton Lane and the Horton Road gravel extraction site.  They also cover changes to the Colne Valley Way, Harmondsworth Moor, Poyle Poplars and the Arthur Jacobson Nature Reserve.

There is also a package of measures to improve the village’s conservation zone.

With more promises than a Neighbourhood Plan could ever hope to include the airport’s sweeteners will leave local politicians salivating as they work out how to reposition Heathrow’s “generosity” as hard won compromises.

heathrows plan for colnbrook

Some of the “sweeteners” proposed include:

  • Sports and recreation facilities to be built including: two football pitches, tennis courts, an outdoor swimming pool, a mountain bike trail, riding stables and cross country course.
  • A major new surface water management strategy to prevent further flooding.  The route of the Horton Brook and Poyle Channel will be modified; major new diversions created (most notably a ‘River Colne spur’ to the Horton Brook); and new ‘wet woodland’ and flood storage areas will be created.
  • A ‘woodland corridor’ for the Colne Valley Way, which would be rerouted to link up previously disconnected areas.
  • An area for allotments for residents to grow their own food will be provided.
  • A new Visitor Centre in Colnbrook (Lakeside Education Centre will be lost), and a new Community Centre in (what remains of) Harmondsworth.

If Heathrow’s architects could have come up with any other amenities we’re sure they would have squeezed them in somewhere!

Heathrow is bullish in its presentation, despite the lack of consultation with residents or a public meeting in Colnbrook:

“Our plans would increase the amount of publicly accessible green space around the airport. We have thought about how best to mitigate the effects of the development on local rivers and flood protection. We have produced a plan to enhance the quality of rivers, biodiversity and landscape in the Colne Valley. Our measures will protect people and properties against flooding offering the potential for an improved situation compared to today, particularly for the residents of Colnbrook and Poyle. We will also create new green corridors that link together existing outdoor recreation areas such as those in the existing Colne Valley Regional Park.”

But make no bones about it (as Heathrow certainly doesn’t), despite the green revolution promised Colnbrook could be about to get a whole lot noisier.  12,000 may be taken out of the flight path, but for Colnbrook that means far more properties in the noisiest zones.

A 5 meter bund will be built to act as a barrier to the worst of the runway noise which should benefit Pippins, but triple glazing and igloos will become the norm for most of us.

noise impact

Most alarmingly, the Colnbrook By-pass is to be diverted both north around the airport’s new perimeter and south through the village, effectively driving a wedge between Colnbrook and Poyle.  Albany Park will be destroyed and the new road will take the ‘rat run’ between the M25 and M4, cutting across tranquil Mill Street.

For local businesses there is little good news to hang on to.

Most (if not all?) of Lakeside will be lost to the airport.  While few will bemoan the loss of Grundon’s super-incinerator a number of established businesses along the Colnbrook By-Pass will be swallowed up (including the BP, A-Plant, Tantric Blue, and popular Riverside Cafe).

The revamped plans, however, find space for a new commercial area within the airport boundaries adjacent to Poyle which is likely to give the run down industrial estate a new lease of life.   (The industrial estate itself should not be directly impacted – unlike the rival Heathrow Hub proposal).

And in what must surely be a final nail in the coffin for the SIFE project, Heathrow also says it will develop a new “cargo consolidation centre” to reduce freight deliveries and HGV movements to and from the airport:

“We will also look at whether there is a case for connecting the cargo centre to the rail network. We will work with industry to deliver more efficient use of vehicles and a cleaner vehicles fleet.”

The next phase of its work will see the Commission undertaking a detailed appraisal of the 3 options shortlisted last December, based on the revised submissions, before a public consultation in the autumn.



Taking Britain Further Vol 1 (Tech. Submission) 11MB (470 pages)
Taking Britain Further Vol 2 (Tech. submission), 6MB (365 pages)
Taking Britain Further Vol 3 (Tech. submission) 40MB (50 pages)
Taking Britain Further (Summary), 22MB (52 pages)
Taking Britain Further (Easy-read), 3MB (32 pages)

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