WITH firm public support for their vision of developing Fairoaks as a centre of aviation excellence, campaigners against a garden village on the land are stepping up their pressure on the airport owners.
Following its three packed consultation sessions at the weekend, the Fairoaks 2020 group is preparing a business case for keeping the airport operating.
“The next step is to work on the finance that’s needed for Fairoaks,” group chairman Douglas Mancini told the News & Mail. “We need to demonstrate the level of investment and the number of jobs it will create.”
“We will share the information with the owners and Surrey Heath Borough Council and also post it on our website. It’s clear that developing Fairoaks is good common sense and logical.”
Mr Mancini was speaking after the meetings in Chobham Village Hall on Saturday and Sunday where an alternative to building around 1,500 houses was presented to the public.
“We were absolutely delighted with the outcome of the weekend,” he added. “It confirms what we are saying, that the airport has an economic impact in the area and is an important facility for the community.
“The key takeaway from the weekend is that this isn’t over by any stretch of the imagination.”
At the weekend, Fairoaks 2020 – formerly known as No Fairoaks New Town – fielded is own “masterplanner” to show that the airport could have a future as a flight and aviation education centre.
David Keirle, an architect who is involved in designing garden village-type housing estates in other parts of the country and flies out of Fairoaks, was one of the main speakers.
He put the case for developing Fairoaks as a general aviation airport and education centre, in a country where the decline in the number of airfields in the last 20 years had been “staggering”.
“The owners have a successful operational airport which could be a lot better,” he told the audience. “Why won’t they build on the jobs and educational possibilities?”
There had been no spending on the flight centre in recent years, but investment could bring extra trade to Fairoaks as general aviation facilities were lost elsewhere in the South East.
Farnborough Airport was dedicated to business flights and could not provide the same facilities as Fairoaks, so would not be an effective replacement. But there was a danger that the owners of Blackbushe Airport, near Camberley, could grab the initiative to expand, taking away some of Fairoaks’ business.
Mr Keirle agreed that a lot more housing was needed in the UK but building on the airport’s Green Belt land was not acceptable. “People around the world are envious of our Green Belt and we should not lose it in this way” he added.
See 1st February 2018 issue for full report.