Posts Tagged ‘Heathrow’

National Express: Aldershot to Heathrow

October 25, 2014
National Express Aldershot Heathrow

National Express Aldershot Heathrow

National Express are now running a luxury coach service from Aldershot to Heathrow. Some coaches are direct, others are via Woking. The size of the coach dwarfs the local buses.

The service is infrequent and the times random. To be a viable service, it needs to be hourly.

Also questionable, coach from Aldershot, rather than train to Woking then coach from Woking.

If for example, coming up from Alton or Farnham by train, is it better to change at Aldershot to a coach or change at Woking?

Best option is train from North Camp Station to Gatwick. An hourly service direct to South Terminal.

This service operates in conjunction with South West Trains. No information either at Aldershot Station or the bus station.

BA Flight 632 London to Athens

March 16, 2013

Attrocious driving conditions on the M25, lots of surface water, very bad spray from vehichles.

Not been to Heathrow Terminal 5 before.

On landside, a bit futuristic, rather what one imagines a spaceport to be like as in the first book of the Isaac Asimov Foundation series. Though once through to airside and the departure gate, much of a muchness, long time to board.

Flight uneventful, food reasonable.

Landing at 1800, was in a the airport a few minutes later, the first luggage was on the belt 1809 (if the sign to be believed).

It was then out catch a bus or metro into Athens.

Relaxation of planning controls

September 5, 2012

It is a sad state of affairs when a Government Minister, Justine Greening, is sacked for stalwartly defending Government policy. — AirportWatch

Last week George Osborne called for a third runway at Heathrow, an expansion of Heathrow. At the weekend he called for a relaxation of planning controls. Yesterday Justine Greening who has steadfastly opposed Heathrow expansion was sacked as Transport Secretary. Her deputy was also fired.

Today London Mayor Boris has called for clarity, a categorical no to a third runway and expansion of Heathrow. He has not got it, instead there have been attacks on Boris.

George Osborne has been a disaster as Chancellor of the Exchequer. His polices have been to hit the poor and disadvantaged, slash public services, lower taxes for the rich and turn a blind eye to tax dodgers.

David Cameron has shown himself to be a spineless individual who has caved in to businesses interests and developers who for some time have been calling for Justine Greening to be fired.

What of localism? This has proved to be weasel words from Cameron, as has the Big Society. Big Lie more like.

Business wishes to see Heathrow to be expanded as a hub. Passengers fly in, passengers fly out. Heathrow already serves more destinations than other airports. There are no benefits to being a hub, many disbenefits.

Heathrow has more flights to business destinations than any other airport in Europe: more than the combined total of Charles de Gaulle and Frankfurt. London airports as a whole have the highest number of flights to key markets in Asia, the Middle East, North American and Australasia. More passengers fly in and out of London than any other city in the world. Paris, our so-called nearest competitor, is in fifth place.

Heathrow aside, there is the wider issue of relaxation of planning controls, letting developers do as they please. It is difficult to see how planning can be relaxed any further, local councils already fall over backwards to rubber-stamp whatever developers want, ignoring the wishes of local communities. We see the result with towns and cities across the country trashed.

Farnborough: Half the town centre demolished for a superstore, social housing demolished for a car park for the superstore.

Aldershot: An edge-of-town-centre development which if not a white elephant will destroy what is left of the town centre.

Aldershot: The Arcade, a Victorian arcade destroyed, replaced by a plastic replica with boarded-up shops, pictures of the butcher, baker, candlestick maker painted on the boards. Someone’s idea of a sick joke. Now the plastic replica is under threat, retailers kicked out to make way for a large bar.

Totnes: Local community with a strong sense of civic pride, wished to retain the character of Totnes and strongly opposed a Costa Coffee shop. The local council rubber-stamped the application.

Southwold: As with Totnes, local community with a strong sense of civic pride oppose a Costa Coffee shop, rubbeer-stamped by the local council.

When it comes to companies like Costa, they simply ignore the planning rules.

Far from a loosening of planning controls we need a tightening and placing local communities firmly in control of what takes place in their locality.

Local people should decide, not planners, not councillors and certainly not developers.

Good for business

January 31, 2012

Good for business. A meaningless expression.

We were told doubling the capacity of Farnborough Airport was good for business. We were told it was good for the surrounding area. Not the views of those who live in the surrounding area, who value their quality of life. Not good for the nearby towns of Farnborough and Aldershot, both of which lie semi-derelict, though that owes as much to greedy developers and bad planning. Expansion of Farnborough Airport is good for Saudi-owned TAG Aviation, owners and operators of Farnborough. [see Farnborough Airport News]

Farnborough Airport was never going to be good for the local economy, as it is not a major employer. It lacks shops, customs, baggage handling, immigration control. At an average occupancy rate of 2.5 passengers per flight it is extremely bad for the environment.

HS2 we are told is good for business. There are even figures to show, it will shave 25 minutes off the journey time for businessmen travelling between London and Birmingham, as they will be the only ones using HS2. Not sure why anyone would wish to visit Birmingham, let alone get there 25 minutes sooner. Though I guess it may be an advantage to get away 25 minutes quicker.

High Speed trains are not good for the environment, major polluters. The scheme is simply an opportunity for the construction industry to make money. If there is money for investment in rail, then invest it in the rail network in order that we may all benefit.

Farce of rail price hikes

Crossrail will link east and west London. An excellent idea, but that is not why it is being built. It is being built to provide the City of London with a fast connection to Heathrow. Once again the taxpayer is being asked to subsidise the City of London. If the City of London wants a fast link to Heathrow, then the City of London should pay for it.

Thames Estuary Airport is the latest White Elephant. Again we are told good for businessmen, expanding airport capacity is good for business. We are told Heathrow lacks the capacity, lacks the destinations of other airports. Not true, but when has the truth ever got in the way when fast bucks are to be made?

Boris Island airport versus Thames estuary wildlife

London airports have 1113 departure flights to key business destinations compared with Paris 499, Frankfurt 443, and Amsterdam 282. Heathrow has 990 departure flights each week to the world’s key business centres – Charles de Gaulle 484 and Frankfurt 450.

Will aviation expand at the projected rate? Highly unlikely as flights will become too expensive as airlines are forced to pay their true environmental costs and the cost of fuel rockets.

Airports are not only a cost to private developers, it is the public purse that pays for the surrounding infrastructure.

Thames Estuary Airport would mean the closure of Heathrow, possibly Gatwick too. Massive loss of capital investment, not just Heathrow, but all the surrounding businesses. Massive unemployment west London.

Quality of life is a major determinant when people decide where they wish to live. London fails miserably. Expanding aviation would only make the quality of life worse.

London too dirty for business?

London ranks 25 on a table of air pollution for European cities. Mercer’s Worldwide Quality of Living Survey 2011 placed London in 38th place (out of 221 cities), behind Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam.

New report claims poor environment, not lack of airport capacity, threatens London’s status as top city to do business
London Claims Most Traffic Congested City in Europe Prize
Boris Johnson and the ‘invisible crisis’ of air pollution
London ranks among worst European cities for air pollution
Climate Rush Soho roadblock

London 2012 Olympics another mega disaster. Good for tourism, we were told. Greedy hoteliers jacked up their rates tenfold.

Slow Start For Olympic Biz Jet Bookings
Operators claim UK tourism affected by reserved Olympic rooms

I warned people to avoid London during the Olympics, avoid London end of July, all of August and early September. It will be hell in London. The transport system cannot cope now. Roads are to be hijacked for exclusive Olympic use. I am pleased to say people heeded my advice. London will be a no-go area for tourists, hotels will sit half empty.

Across the country town and city centres have been destroyed by developers out to make a fast buck and corrupt planners in their pockets. Good for business we are told. Good for greedy developers, good for High Street retailers, but not good for communities who see their towns laid waste, not good for local communities who see the wealth of the community leached out, not good for those who lose their livelihood and jobs when local businesses close.

In Lincoln, Sincil Street all that is left of character in the market area is due for destruction.

Destruction of Sincil Street

There are exceptions. Communities are saying enough is enough. We are no longer going to be walked all over by Big Business and corrupt politicians.

The Victorian Queen’s Market at Upton Park in London, one of the few remaining traditional East End London markets, was due for destruction. It has been saved, the developer St Modwen driven out of town.

Across the country traditional markets are being destroyed, bastardised and yuppified. Queen’s Market is one of the few remaining London east end markets. It was under threat when the mayor got into bed with property developer St Modwen who have track record of trashing town town centres (eg Farnborough and Hatfield), it was to be destroyed for a supermarket, but after a six year fight, Friends of Queen’s Market have sent St Modwen’s packing with their corporate tail between their legs. Remaining is to be answered is how much taxpayers money has the mayor wasted on this ill-thought-out scheme? He and the councillors who backed him should be surcharged and made personally bankrupt to recover ever last penny.

Queens Market
Asda v Queens Market
Victory for Queens Market!!

The irony is that those towns that have retained their traditional markets are thriving, the markets major tourist attractions. But that does not provide development opportunities, enable fast bucks to be made.

Bury Market in Lancashire – 300 stalls, a quarter of a million visitors every day! The success of Bury Market is down to two factors, quality stalls selling quality products and that the market worked with the local council to a common ethos, a common agenda.

BBC Radio 4 Food and Farming Awards 2008

Communities are starting to take control of their own destinies. Often it is from small beginnings. In Alton, Greening Alton plants up small patches of land for vegetables, Transition Heathrow and Incredible Edible Todmorden has taken this much further.

We are in charge now

We can have development, but it has to be sustainable development, development that is good for people and planet. Good for businesses had to be consigned to the dustbin of history. Anyone remember, one for the road, an extra pint before driving off from the pub?

Put planet and its people at the core of sustainable development