The Town and Country Planning Association has blasted the government and big business in London for 'using anti-democratic tactics', 'flagrantly abusing the planning process' and turning the Terminal 5 inquiry into a 'fiasco'.
Furious TCPA director Gideon Amos confirmed that rumours are circulating that the planning inspector at the inquiry is about to recommend that the Rogers-designed terminal should go ahead, but with aircraft movements capped to a level that has already been exceeded.
And if that happens, it would make Terminal 5 'unviable'.Meanwhile, London businesses are running an 'orchestrated campaign' in the media, to build a third runway at Heathrow.
'This is a blatant attempt to prepare the ground for government to overturn the inspector's rumoured recommendation, ' said Amos, adding that this was contrary to BAA's specific undertaking during the inquiry that a third runway was not part of its plans. 'The attempt to open a second front of argument, involving a third runway, would render the entire £70 million, four-year inquiry a complete waste of time. These tactics are anti-democratic and represent a flagrant abuse of the planning process, ' said Amos.
The TCPA feels it is time to blow the whistle on the tactics and reads the situation as the government 'colluding' to invent reasons for overturning the inspector's report. 'This is brewing as another great planning fiasco, where the appearance of independent assessment of a big development scheme seems likely to have been a charade.'
The association now wants government to publish the inspector's report along with a study of long-term runway capacity in the south-east of England. The options include a new Thames Gateway airport for London, linked to Eurostar rail services to the continent. TCPA trustee and planning guru Sir Peter Hall echoed the call: 'Let us see the inspector's conclusions and plan for London and the UK's long-term airport needs in an open and accountable way.'