Andy Horton 



Tel:  01273 465433   EMail:



10 December 2003


Comments on Shoreham Airport Expansion Proposals


I am a supporter of Shoreham Airport and the existing hard runway and I would not like to see Shoreham Airport decline or be closed. I have been a Shoreham resident for nearly 50 years.


However, this does not mean that I support the realignment and the new runway as I have serious reservations about the merits of such a project and after careful consideration I consider that the scheme has no merits whatsoever and considerable disadvantages resulting in the destruction of the way of life for local people.


Expansion or Die


Whilst inkling to the view that the provision of services for light aircraft and pleasure craft and air shows is exactly that a service rather than a profit making enterprise, it has become an established service for the last 90 years or so and should continue. At a guess, I would say the income for the airport probably comes from the property interests.


Bearing all this in mind, I would consider it reckless and foolhardy to invest in an expansion enterprise with no guarantee of success and put at risk the current operational airfield.


The success of a public transport airport will depend on the popularity amongst airlines, which will depend on the facilities on offer and the local demand.

The facilities are hampered by the space being too small to accommodate a large runway with no possibility of expansion.


The demand is restricted (compared to Plymouth) by an alternative large successful airport called Gatwick within similar travelling time from Brighton. There are other airfields and space in Surrey and north Sussex (near Crawley) that would provide a better base for a small operational airline nearer larger areas of population. My best answer would be a reduced size (1800 metres) extra runway for Gatwick.



Transport Strategy


The local “travel to work” transport strategy is so awry as to make me believe that the Government pays mere lip service to such items. However, there is no reason to make things worse for no real reason. It makes sense to me to use and improve the established rail services to Gatwick for an additional runway, rather than make the customers travel and additional journey to Shoreham, whether transferring from an incoming flight, or travelling down from Surrey, south London or the population centres.


Noise and the Environment


At the moment the benefits of the airfield with the noise and the occasional fuel pollution and crash landings make it worthwhile to keep. Afterall, the local people can be said to have chosen to live with the current airfield, or despite of it. However, in view of the prevailing opinion, it would never have been foreseen that a large expansion is envisaged, by the simple tape measure expedient on an OS map: there is just not enough room!


Noise at the moment is acceptable, except for the helicopters which are a great noise nuisance wherever on the airfield, the north-west being just as bad as the south-east. However, with all the high density homes being built in Shoreham, combined with town cramming, increasing road traffic, there is a great need to get out of the noise and the only places to do this are the Adur Valley and Mill Hill. If this becomes an aircraft flight path for large aircraft this refuge of quiet will no longer be available. Then Shoreham would cease to be a pleasant enough place to live. It will be the final straw on noise pollution.


If London Airport is anything to go by the huge fuel tanks and kerosene smell will put an unattractive spoiling affect on the land between the Airport and Lancing which could be an asset to the community.


Regeneration and the Local Job Shortage


It is accepted that the local job opportunities are dire and that in this instance I could be expected to support the airport and aircraft expansion because of the regeneration effect.


Nothing could be more from the truth, and my main objection to the plans is exactly this aspect of the plans. It fails to address the needs of the local economy in providing more jobs, because it fails to make the best use of the land between the airport and Lancing and effectively puts a blight on any sustainable development (highly suitable area because of the good transport links), puts the blocker on other environment improvements in Lancing, like a new north-south relief road, relocation of sports pitches and new facilities, proper drainage for New Monks Farm. All these improvements could be possible with the current runway, but would be impossible with the realignment new runway.



Strategic Gap


This concept is out of date for New Monks Farm and has been for thirty years or more. However, this does not neglect its importance as an open space (with important wildlife interests: Water Voles, Willow Tits, Barn Owls, three rare species plus others). It should be a Strategic Link (sustainable transport paths east-west) with public access to the land as part of a development with public advantages. This does not look feasible in the vicinity of aircraft landing and no advantages accrue to the public (we/I want public access as a planning gain).  






I am opposed to the new Option B runway because:


1)     It is detrimental to best course regeneration of the Adur district. (A better plan could be drawn up.)

2)     It is detrimental to the best environmental and social interests of the Strategic Gap and the whole of Adur.

3)     It is a risky and dodgy enterprise that has little chance of success and could threaten the viability of the current airport. (The area is too small for a new runway).



Yours faithfully,




Andy Horton.





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