Matt Clarke, Partner in our Heathrow & Woking offices, spoke to Thames Valley Tap with our views on the opportunity that Heathrow expansion represents for businesses in the area.
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The Expansion and Airspace Principles Consultations involves two main themes. The first is about infrastructure design options for an expanded Heathrow and the second, on the future design principles for airspace around the airport.
“The expansion to Heathrow Airport brings with it a great deal of opportunity for the business community and wider local economy in the region.
"Given that the airport is at capacity, a third runway will help to generate significant additional passenger numbers, increased freight movements and will further promote Heathrow, West London and the Thames Valley as a world class location to do business in.
"It will create jobs in the short to medium term, and will also create opportunities within the construction industry – something which on the back of the recent demise of Carillion, will come as welcome news.
"Improvements to road and rail infrastructure in the surrounding area will help to significantly reduce journey times to the airport and its environs, both for the benefit of business and the wider community.
"From a property perspective, this announcement will present some businesses with the need to relocate as a direct result of the development at Heathrow.
"But for others, especially those approaching lease expiry, renewal or break clauses, it’s a chance to review their future property strategy.
"Many Freeholders will also want to consider their land holdings - do they need to own or would a sale and leaseback, as we have done for many clients recently, be more worthwhile?
"With the advent of infrastructure changes such as better rail access and the effect of a third runway, would their business be better located elsewhere, and if so, where?
"Could businesses operate efficiently and cost effectively from other nearby locations at likely lower occupational costs, but within striking distance of Heathrow?
"This is both an interesting and exciting time for businesses in the Heathrow and surrounding areas. The announcement of the third runway could, for those willing to fully embrace it, present a number of opportunities for businesses based in the area.
"When it comes to exploring future property needs, it’s important to seek professional advice in order to secure the best possible outcome.”
From 22 January until 28 March, a dedicated website allows comments on both consultations and, during the 10-week period, 40 consulation events will be held, including at Ascot, Slough, Bracknell and Windsor. Events run from January 30 to March 12. The current consultation has been organised by the airport itself and is separate from the Government’s Airports National Policy Statement consultation.
For help and advice in relation to the impact of Heathrow on your property requirements, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our expert advisers.