Architect and masterplanner Sir Terry Farrell yesterday rejected the Thames Estuary airport plan and instead made the case for a “constellation hub” linking five airports by high speed rail, to delegates at Place West London.
Farrell, also a design advisor to London mayor Boris Johnson, was delivering a keynote speech at the Place West London conference. He said he believes the constellation proposal presents a significantly more cost-effective and sustainable alternative to plans for a new airport in the Thames Estuary, favoured by Johnson and recently supported by architect Lord Foster.
“Old Oak Common, where Crossrail and High Speed 2 will connect, will properly link five of the nation’s major airports to the high speed rail network for the first time,” Farrell said. “Heathrow will be just 11 minutes away and four other airports [Birmingham, Luton, Stansted and City] will be within half an hour. High speed connections to Birmingham also give the option for an additional runway there in the future.
“If we build a brand new £50bn airport to meet today’s demands then what will we do after 20 years of exponential growth? Build another one?”
Farrell sits on the Thames Estuary Steering Group – not currently active – with which he was involved in broadening the scope to look at the region’s regeneration, because it was initially set up by Johnson to only look at an Estuary airport, dubbed Boris Island.
“There is a much more convincing case for London’s macro transport connections to be substantially biased westwards,” said Farrell. “That’s where the rest of the UK is and, not coincidentally, all of the existing major transport infrastructure.” Park Royal City, Farrell’s vision for Old Oak Common, aims to provide massive regeneration of brownfield land in one of the most deprived parts of West London.