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Second bid for airport
A SECOND plan to build an airport which would wipe out two villages has been submitted.
The £30bn proposal would see the villages of East and West Hanney swallowed up by the airport on land between the villages and Steventon.
It follows another plan revealed in the Oxford Mail earlier this year for the same stretch of land, both of which have been put forward as part of a bid process to solve Britain’s aviation capacity crisis. The Hanneys scheme could see around 1,500 villagers forced out if the plan gets approved by the Government-backed Airports Commission.
Residents have attacked the latest scheme, and Wantage MP Ed Vaizey has written to commission chairman Howard Davies to raise his objections.
Mr Vaizey said: “I don’t take these proposals seriously.
“They are ridiculous and they are not going to happen. It has caused great concern to people in my constituency.”
The latest airport plan has been lodged as part of a Government process that will end in 2015 to investigate long-term proposals for new airports and is investigating whether a third runway at London Heathrow should be built.
The new scheme for East and West Hanney is one of 52 being looked at by officials at the Airports Commission, who will draw up a shortlist of the most credible schemes in December.
The group behind the latest plan, the Progressive Aviation Group (PAG), has proposed a three-runway airport in the area, with an option to extend to four runways in the future.
The organisation brands itself as an “informal forum of five individuals” but appears to have almost no profile in the wider aviation industry.
PAG would also have to offer large compensation to villagers if its proposal was approved.
But spokesman Mike Carrivick – who has almost 40 years of experience in the aviation industry – said PAG does not have the financial resources to build the airport itself and would need a large-scale developer to fund it.
Mr Carrivick said: “We don’t have the expertise for a proper compensation scheme. We would have to offer two or three times the market value. Unfortunately, the proposal would see that as necessary.”
In response to criticisms of the scheme from residents, Mr Carrivick said: “We understand the concerns. The airport would take up several square miles and we don’t have that sort of land without a population centre in the UK.”
The PAG plan is one of two similar options, the other being from Bristol architects firm Pleiade Associates, which has already put forward a plan to the Airports Commission for the same stretch of land.
East Hanney parish councillor Alan Miles said: “I would be staggered to learn that there is the distinct possibility they could go ahead and eradicate East and West Hanney off the map.”
West Hanney parish councillor Kay Sayers agreed, saying: “It would mean most of the villages disappeared and I really cannot believe that it will go ahead.”
Leader of Vale District Council Matthew Barber, who lives in West Hanney, said: “It’s absolute madness.
“If anybody was going to build a brand new airport then the economics of it just would not work.”
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