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Ministers back Pascall + Watson’s £344m London City Airport expansion

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Plans for a £344 million expansion at London City Airport by Pascall + Watson have been given the green-light from ministers

Chancellor Philip Hammond, transport secretary Chris Grayling and communities secretary Sajid Javid backed the plans for the Dockland’s airport yesterday (27 July).

Proposals include a 3-storey passenger pier, new aircraft taxiway, a 260-bed hotel and parking spaces for planes.

London City Airport estimates that the scheme will create over 2,000 jobs, including 500 construction jobs, and could contribute £1.5 billion to the UK’s economy by 2025. It is also hoped that the development will nearly double the number of passengers from 3 million to 6 million by 2023.

The cost of the plans have increased significantly since the practice first unveiled concept ideas for the East London airport’s American owner GIP in late 2013 (see AJ 20.09.13)

Martin Neilan, project director at Pascall+Watson, said: ’Our innovative designs will unlock the future potential of the airport, providing much needed capacity to service the airport’s projected increase in passenger numbers and greatly enhancing the passenger experience by providing state-of-the-art modern facilities.

’Pascall+Watson’s design leadership across this series of landmark projects is testament to our position of market leaders in airport terminal design.’

However the plans also face opposition because of environmental and housing concerns.

Siân Berry, Green Party London Assembly member, said: ’This decision is wrong for east London in so many ways, including the missed opportunity to wind down and replace the airport with a new quarter for homes and businesses. This could have happened when Crossrail opens with faster links to Heathrow, but is less likely if expansion is allowed. Londoners need a quieter more productive neighbour than a polluting airport.’

In addition, improvements will be made to transport links around the airport, such as funding more rolling stock for the Docklands Railway (DLR) and investing in a bus and taxi scheme.

Philip Hammond, chancellor of the exchequer, said: ‘London City Airport’s ambitious growth plans will boost international connections, strengthening the City of London’s links to destinations across the world, and send a clear signal that Britain is open for business.

‘Making it easier to visit and do business in the City of London will help drive forward our economy and further strengthen the city’s status as the world’s leading financial centre.’

London City Airport will also make a number of investments in transport links around the airport, including investing £2.6 million into an additional DLR rolling stock, funding a bus and taxi access scheme and improving walking and cycle routes to the airport.

Meanwhile there has still been no official word from government about the possible expansion of Heathrow - despite Grimshaw having won the contest for the ‘terminal of the future’ earlier this month.

Last July Howard Davies published a long-awaited report into aviation capacity recommending the construction of an extra runway at Heathrow, claiming that it would deliver the most economic growth to the country and potentially add £147 billion to the economy (see AJ 01.07.15).

However new prime minister Theresa May – whose Maidenhead constituency is close to the airport – has previously opposed expanding the airport, raising concerns about noise, reaching climate targets and night flights. Two of her key allies, education secretary Justine Greening and chancellor Philip Hammond, also oppose a third runway at the west London airport. 

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