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1 - May - 2014

Gatwick to deal with yet more wrath over runway proposals

Management at Gatwick Airport has received another attack on their proposals for a new runway at the airport, this time from members of the Charlwood History Group.  Local historians are said to be “appalled” the potential demolishing of historic buildings to make way for a second runway, including 18 listed buildings, 5 of which are considered Grade II listed by English Heritage and among the 6% of most important historic buildings in England.

Following a tour by the Society of the area where the new runway is proposed to be constructed, a variety of historic buildings were visited including Charlwood House, a grand Elizabethan house; Hyders, now known as Gatwick Manor Inn, which was formerly the home of Richard Hyde in 1263; and Rowley which dates from 1200 previously the home of the Culpeper family whose grand-daughter, Catherine Howard, was the fifth wife of Henry VIII and executed following her alleged affair with Thomas Culpeper, her cousin.

The group also visited St Michael and All Angels – said to be all that is left of the village of Lowfield Heath before it was demolished to make way for the airport itself all those years ago!  Patrick Cox, chairman of the Society, said that there was special sentiment about the buildings visited and for one in particular – The Beehive, the location of the first Gatwick terminal built in 1936 when the airport still relied on grass runways!  He said: “It is ironic that this airport building now listed as of great historic interest would be destroyed by a new runway.”

The tour was left by Brendon Sewill, a local history enthusiast and chairman of the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC), who also said that it’s not just the listed buildings that could be in danger; it is also the people living in these buildings who, unfortunately, are not allowed to ‘modernise’ the buildings with better insulation materials and other materials to reduce vibration and aircraft noise.

A spokesperson for Gatwick Airport said: “Should Gatwick build a second runway, we will work closely with heritage authorities on how we deal with any listed buildings which could be affected.  This will include exploring options to incorporate buildings within the development options or relocating them to new sites.