Sid Cumberland is standing as the Lib Dem candidate for Rochford West and as such was asked by some residents there about his views on the HAAP (plan for Hockley Town Centre) and the JAAP (plan for Southend Airport). This is his response:
“My views are (briefly) as follows:
JAAP: a thriving airport is good for local residents in principle, as it provides high-quality skilled jobs for our families. BUT: we need to look at the whole picture – for example, how do we cope with additional traffic on our roads, how do we make sure that the airport is a good neighbour (I’m thinking of night flights etc).
HAAP: I am less enthusiastic about HAAP. It seems to me that too much is being proposed – again, without adequate thought being given to infrastructure.
In both cases I think we need to make sure that the voices of local people are heard loud and clear. And I would say, as a good Liberal, that we would have fought much more strongly against the government pressures which drive these proposals. The current local councillors seem to just wring their hands and say ‘There’s nothing we can do – the government says we have to do this’. (In which case, I’m inclined to ask why we need local councillors at all!)”
Sid, you can please some people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time! Stop sitting on the fence mate! The world is full of NIMBY’s we need jobs in the area, most of the big employers have gone! The roads are a problem I grant you, but options to overcome this have not been discussed seriously. Because the elections are to close, everyone is sitting on the fence.
I don’t buy the environmental argument from protests are us either! New technology whisper jets and clean burn engines are better for the planet than trudging down the motor way to Gatwick,Stansted or Heathrow as most southeast residents have to do for holidays!
Geoff – sometimes sitting on the fence is the only sensible option! And that’s nothing to do with elections – it’s precisely because, as you say, issues like roads have not been discussed seriously. How can you make decisions when you don’t have all the information you need?
I’m sure whisper jets and clean burn engines are good for us – but I don’t know how many of those Stobart has, or plans to buy. I do know that under the terms of their current licence they can fly 30 flights every night with whatever noisy planes they can find.
I would argue that the airport ought to be the servant of the community, not the other way round. And until I see any evidence that that’s how they propose to behave, I’ll reserve my judgement.
If all of the big employers have gone, then surely the expanded airport just becomes a gateway for travellers passing through, not for people planning to stay in our region. This is probably true for most airport and sea ports. In terms of local employment, the proposed business park would do more for our region than the airport itself.
In terms of access, Southend Airport is in a terrible place. Most of East Anglia can get to Stansted or Norwich easier than Rochford. Travellers south of the Thames have Gatwick, London City, and can reach Stansted as quickly as Rochford once they’re on the M25, plus have the Channel Tunnel rail link. If you look westwards, travellers have the choice of Midlands airport, Luton, Heathrow and Stansted again. Who would want to tackle, London, the M25, the Dartford crossing, , the A127/A13/A130, or the Liverpool Street line to get to our corner of the country just to catch a flight.
On a clear run I can get to Stansted from Rayleigh in about 40 minutes, and London City is about the same. I’ve DRIVEN to Belgium in less time than it takes to go door to door by air and hire car. I can’t see Southend airport bringing much benefit to myself or others in our area.
As for noise, I visited my parents in Upminster the other weekend, and sitting out in the garden, I had to stop talking everytime an aircraft came over, heading to/from London City airport. And these are supposed to be the small, quiet jets. Upminster never used to be like this, but a change in flight paths and increased air traffic have really spoilt the area.
Sid, I agree with you, up to a point but as for the airport being the servant of the community – commerce doesn’t work like a community center. Obviously any business will look to work with the people of the town it’s located in that’s good business! AS for ST1 comment travelers passing through – what do they do when they visit the sea front? they don’t all rush to settle in southend because they bough a kiss me quick hat! The roads are congested because of bad planning for roads and houses, no wonder the unelected quango from the EU have taken over that responsibility! Airports are great hubs of commerce and great places to work. I for one can’t wait to start using it.