development.htm

 

BIGGIN HILL AIRPORT – OLYMPICS PROPOSALS WHAT EXACTLY ARE THE AIRPORT SEEKING, AND WHEN?  

Having taken concerns about the previous request into account, a revised application with reduced proposals for airport operating hours during the Olympic and  Paralympic Games in the summer of 2012 has been filed with Bromley Council by  London’s Biggin Hill Airport. The new application drops the request for fare paying passengers; is focused on operating hours only; and has two separate parts:

1.   Weekdays between 13th July to 19th August and 28th August to 12th September –

Proposal that the restrictions applied to shoulder opening hours currently reserved to facilitate morning departures and evening arrivals for based aircraft be eased to permit arrivals from 0630 in the morning and departures until 2200 in the evening. Within this period, the airport will guarantee to restrict the number of air movements between 0630 – 0700 to a maximum of three.

Note :  the earlier application requested an extension of evening operating hours to 2300.  This is no longer required as a result of feedback from Council members. 

2.   Weekends and Bank Holidays between 13th July to 19th August and 28thAugust  to 12th September - 

Proposal that the current opening hours (0900 to 2000) are extended by one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening on Saturdays – i.e 0800 to 2100; and by one hour in the morning and two hours in the evening on Sundays and Bank Holidays – i.e. 0800 to 2200.

Note : The earlier application proposed weekend opening hours of 0630 until 2300.  Following feedback received from  Council members, the new plan offers later starts and an earlier evening finish. The revised application has been made as a result of specific flight enquiries to the airport from international customers, and slot allocations will be made soon by the Civil Aviation Authority on the basis of published operating hours throughout the duration of the Games.

 “We wish to contribute strongly to the transport and logistical success of the 2012 Olympics and we need to advise any changes to the CAA without delay.  We believe that this new plan represents a constructive way forward, having listened carefully and responded to the concerns of our neighbours. This is a significantly different plan and, if approved, would demonstrate that  London Biggin Hill Airport and the LBB are willing to support the national effort being made to welcome international visitors towards making a success of the Games.”

“Equally, and as important, the heritage of the Games has the potential to boost business opportunities and to bring new jobs and vital new investment to the Borough. If guests use other airports and miss the experience of Biggin with its full range of services and its proximity to London, there is a risk that any resulting investment would go elsewhere. As one of Bromley’s largest employment bases, surely the more visitors and potential investors we attract to the area, the better.” says Jenny Munro, Managing Director of Biggin Hill Airport.

WHAT IS HAPPENING NOW?  

Bromley Council have decided that they would seek the views of interested parties and the public and have therefore set up a short period of consultation that will end on 29th July 2011, after which the Council will make a decision.

On the earlier consultation for the original proposal submitted by the airport, there was overwhelming refusal to accept any changes as these included a temporary removal of the restriction that prevented individuial passengers from purchasing a seat to visit the games. The Opposition groups fought everything on the basis that “scheduled services” are not, and never should, be permitted to operate at Biggin Hill (even though they have done previously!

WHAT DO WE THINK? AND WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO?  

The opposition groups have stepped up their propaganda and misinformation, sensing a victory that will set a precedent for them in dictating future policy and airport use. They must not be allowed to get away with this unchallenged.

We are all either current or past airport users, or simply friends of the airport or lovers of aircraft. We love “our” airport, even if we have had some differences of opinion with the management from time to time. But what is clear, is that without the management of the airport’s actions and improvements over the years, we would probably have lost it completely before now. But there are many out there that would wish to stop everything at Biggin Hill.

I have heard it said that the opposition groups don’t want to stop the airport, they just want it to go back to how it was in the 60’s – with just little club and private aircraft pottering about. This will never happen! Biggin Hill Airport occupies a massive piece of prime land on the outskirts of the capital. There is absolutely no way that club and private aircraft are able to financially support the costs involved in maintaining a Headcorn, or Redhill, type of operation on an airport as large as Biggin Hill. It would simply lose money and eventually close completely. If that happened, it would inevitably be used for other more profitable purposes – after all, it would make a fantastic piece of land for the building of a massive housing estate!



See the changes that COULD happen

Do you really want this to happen to “your” airport?

With the forthcoming 29th July deadline for opinions to count in the Council consultation regarding the request for a variation of Biggin Hill Airport’s lease to cover the Olympics, time is now getting short to have your views taken into account. At the time of publishing this webpage, the indications are that there have already been considerably more people who have expressed a “No” vote than there have been indicating support for the proposal.

I know that Biggin Hill’ites are not the easiest people to motivate into action – there is a tendency to say “I’ll do something about this tomorrow”, but tomorrow never comes. You really do need to act to stop the opposition groups from gaining even more momentum! This is not just about the Olympics proposals – this is about stopping the opposition groups from getting more power to control “our” airport. Today, the Olympics, tomorrow, the hours, the aircraft types, the facilities we need, and so on!

So: What should you do?

Firstly: It doesn’t matter where you currently live, you have a right to an opinion about the airport that you use, or have used in the past. You need to write in support of the Airport’s Olympic bid, to Bromley Council. (Remember, if you are married or with a partner, get them to write separately too, if they agree with you – each view will be counted separately! The opposition are doing this too!). You can do this in one of several ways:

Email your own views, or a copy of the standard text to airport.consultation@bromley.gov.uk

or

Write your own letter to Airport Consultation Group, Bromley Civic Centre, Stockwell Close, Bromley, BR1 3UH

or

Print a copy of our standard letter in pdf format, at:

www.bigginhillclub.co.uk/olympicsupport.pdf

or in word format

www.bigginhillclub.co.uk/olympicsupport.doc

add your full name and address in the box at the top, and sign the letter.

or

Complete the tear off strip on the mini-poster (which also clearly states what has been proposed, and perhaps more importantly, what has not been proposed) to be found on the link below www.bigginhillclub.co.uk/olympicleaflet.pdf

If not using the email route, your letter, or the tear of strip, can either be posted directly to the Council at the address above, or drop it off in the special drop-box in the airport security post at the entrance to the terminal.

Finally, several local newspapers have articles about the proposals, and these articles usually have readers opinions following them where you can add counter arguments – join in these discussions – most of the comments are from people who have been frightened into believing that the world will end if Biggin Hill Airport is allowed to get it’s way over the two fortnight periods covering the 2012 London Olympics – they need to see that this is total rubbish, so the more the merrier.

At the very least, please add your vote to the poll on this local paper’s website – the link at the time of publishing this is on the right side of the page (note this poll is clouded by the fact it was started prior to the rejection of the first bid that included scheduled services – the new bid no longer seeks that approval. But we still need to add out votes to it to counter the opposition): http://www.bromley-today.co.uk/

Come on Biggin Hill’ites – start joining in, and get friends and family, and even neighbours, to do the same – let’s not let the vocal opposition get away with their misinformation and scare tactics that could change our airport forever. THIS CONSULTATION IS NOT REALLY JUST ABOUT THE OLYMPICS PROPOSAL – IT IS ABOUT THE POWER TO CONTROL WHAT WE CAN DO WITH OUR AIRPORT. So please, get involved! If you don’t, there could eventually come a time when you will need to find somewhere else to fly from, if the opposition groups get their way on this and other future issues.

John Willis

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