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Airport plan grounded by government’s commission
TWO plans to build an airport near Abingdon have been rejected by a Government commission.
But the site, south of Marcham and north of the Hanneys, could still be required for a reservoir by Thames Water.
Yesterday as the Airports Commission rejected both the Oxfordshire proposals, Matthew Barber, leader of the Vale of the White Horse District Council, said: “I am pleased but not surprised.
“At the start I said I thought it was a ridiculous idea and someone was trying their luck.
“We are close to London but not that close and the fact is that it just wasn’t the right area, not to mention the transport problems and the fact that it would decimate several villages.”
Abingdon town councillor Iain Littlejohn agreed and said: “I don’t think having an airport so close to Abingdon would have been good for the town.”
Oxford West and Abingdon MP Nicola Blackwood added: “As everyone knows, our local road network is already beyond capacity and I can’t think of a more inappropriate place to build an international airport. Of course, more investment in the area is most welcome, but our priority must be key local infrastructure improvements such as the A34.”
Two separate proposals had been put forward – one for a four-runway airport by Bristol-based firm Pleiade and another for a three-runway hub by an organisation call Progressive Aviation Group.
The commission rejected the Progressive Aviation Group proposals first because the Pleiade plans were more detailed.
In its report the commission said the area has also been earmarked for a future reservoir by Thames Water. The company has long held plans to put a reservoir on the site but these were rejected by the Government in 2011.
Thames Water spokesman Becky Trotman said it may still be required and added: “We will be looking at all future water supply options in detail between now and 2020 and would like to see the site continue to be safeguarded from major development until a decision is made.”
Mike Carrivick, a spokesman for Progressive Aviation Group, said: “I suspect that the site in Oxfordshire will not be in contention any more and that must be very satisfying for the residents.”
Pleiade did not comment by the time the Oxford Mail went to press.
The commission considered 52 options and ultimately concluded the best solution would be for new runways at Heathrow or Gatwick.
The site near Abingdon has also been put forward for a 30,000 home garden city but a representative of the consortium of landowners proposing it did not comment on the commission’s findings.
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