Friday18 August 2017

Farrells says Boris failed on airport debate

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Practice partner Max Farrell accuses mayor of being too fixated on ‘Boris Island’ and ignoring better alternatives

Farrells has accused outgoing London mayor Boris Johnson of being so preoccupied with building an airport in the Thames Estuary that he ignored more “practical” solutions for airport expansion.

Terry Farrell

Source: Ed Tyler

Terry Farrell

The practice has been working with Gatwick airport on its expansion plans which involve adding a second runway at the west Sussex site.

Following the publication last summer of the Davies Commission’s report into airport expansion – which endorsed the expansion of rival Heathrow as its preferred option – Terry Farrell (pictured) said: “Our proposals have consistently shown that a second runway at Gatwick will provide a much more balanced system of infrastructure, positively affecting the whole of the UK.”

Davies didn’t entirely rule out Gatwick, admitting it remained a “credible” option and this week practice partner Max Farrell said: “No one has talked about the regeneration, and the link between the runway debate and the housing crisis hasn’t been made. You expect mayors and politicians to take a wider view but Boris has been too preoccupied with Boris Island.”

The so-called Boris Island had been designed by Foster & Partners and would have seen a new airport built at the Isle of Grain. But the Airports Commission, headed by businessman Howard Davies, said the cost was too much and kicked it into touch 18 months ago.


Farrell's London - Gatwick airport with second runway

Farrells is still hopeful the government will choose the Gatwick option (pictured) over Heathrow



Farrell said expanding Gatwick would have the same transformational impact on south London as the Olympics had on Stratford in the east – adding that the area around Heathrow was “too crowded” for regeneration.

Farrell, who was speaking at the annual Mipim property show at Cannes in the south of France, added: “I think that the big issue about the runways debate is that it has not been framed in the right way. The debate has all been about the narrow economic benefits to the UK, it’s not been about ‘well if you put a runway here, rather than in over-developed west London what will it do to those areas?’.

“What could a new runway do to the economy of south London? A second runway at Gatwick will do to south London what the Olympics did for Stratford.”

Last week National Infrastructure Commission chairman Lord Adonis said expanding Heathrow was “the only show in town”. A final decision will be made by the government, expected to be later this year.



Readers' comments (10)

  • Boris' only decent idea was to move the airport to the Thames Estuary, freeing London from air and noise pollution.
    There would be plenty of architectural work with the project, not just the airport. London would expand eastwards - new housing, offices, industry - things we desperately need.

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  • craig wilson

    "London would expand eastwards"

    This didn't really happen with Stanstead so I doubt that it will happen with an Estuary Airport either.

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  • Moving the airport to the Thames Estuary will free London from more pollution by moving the pollution to another place - in effect changing bird migration and tidal patterns.

    Here is an idea, lets NOT tarmac over a quarter of the Thames channel so we can become a stop off hub for planes flying elsewhere.

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  • craig wilson

    Heres my new idea... How about building the worlds first underground airport -we will have all the tunelling gear left over from the Thames sewer and crossrail projects anyway! Not onlyy will it attract visitor interest and bring in much needed tourist money from the right to die interest groups, it will also stop all those tree /carbon haters who will die from fright everytime the near impossible landing is attempted -landings are possible but only for those who wan't a free trip to the afterlife. (from the dept. of tongue firmly in cheek)

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  • @Craig

    I'm imagining a Tracy Island type set up complete with moving palm trees and an inclined take off ramp.

    How close am I

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  • craig wilson

    Right on the money -now all we need to do is decide on where the cunningly designed entrance should be -I'm personally hoping for somewhere near the Mital Orbit so that it could get taken out by collateral damage ;)

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  • Perhaps the free stadium that West Ham got off us could have a retractable pitch (i'm sure these pilots get paid enough to manage vertical takeoffs). I'd enjoy watching football more if every 2 minutes a plane flew through a hole in the pitch

    Entertaining and close enough to the Mital Orbit for an 'accident'

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  • craig wilson

    "the free stadium that West Ham got off us could have a retractable pitch" -yes but you know how averse those football types are to new technology, just look at the fiasco about using cameras as a third umpire. It will just end up being in a legal limbo for years on end before anything is decided -oh wait that is happening already... as you were...

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  • Clichy

    I believe a second runway at Gatwick is the least worst solution - the current North and South Terminals could, with little work, accommodate the additional traffic.
    In such a scenario, the second runway would be closer to the existing and impact less on the surrounding environment.
    Farrell's proposals are self-serving because they propose a midfield terminal designed by ....
    This would increase the distance between runways and increase the damage to neighbouring land and properties.
    As usual, Farrel Pere et Fils are looking for publicity.
    Anyone remember the Farrell 'Report on Architecture' - exactly.
    The U.K. needs a new hub airport and ideally it should be located northwest of London, unfortunately Chipping Norton country so totally out of bounds

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  • FLAB Architects

    Much better is to place a mega-airport on reclaimed land in the middle of the surprisingly shallow North Sea midway between UK and the Netherlands linked by high speed rail to north west Europe. We believe this could also provide a linked mega-city on the line of Hong Kong but scale of Tokyo.

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