HEATHROW ON YOUR DOORSTEP: Parties United in Airport Fight; AREA'S POLITICAL OPPONENTS JOIN FORCES AGAINST PLANS TO FLY 77 MILLION PASSENGERS A YEAR FEET FROM OUR ROOFTOPS
Byline: FIONA SCOTT, Political Editor
THE THREE political parties on Warwickshire County Council have joined forces to oppose plans for an international airport between Coventry and Rugby.
Council leader Cllr Ian Bottrill (Lab, Bedworth Mount Pleasant) ditched plans to put off taking a view until later when it became clear opposition Conservative and Liberal Democrat groups would vote against that.
Last-minute negotiations between the ruling Labour group and the other parties led to them all supporting a motion opposing plans for the new airport at Church Lawford.
They came to no view on the government's other main options for the Midlands - expansion at Birmingham Airport, possibly with expansion at Coventry Airport, and expansion at East Midlands.
They agreed they "remained to be convinced" that any expansion was necessary and asked that chief executive Ian Caulfield write expressing concern to Transport Minister Alistair Darling.
They endorsed an earlier decision to appoint consultants to give an "impartial" assessment of the effects on the area of the proposals on the health, environment, social fabric and economy.
Former LibDem leader Cllr George Cowcher (Wellesbourne) questioned the remit, asking: "What if it (the report) says actually there should be an airport sited between Coventry and Rugby?
"That's going to really put egg on our faces if that happens."
Cllr Bottrill said if the evidence was not impartial it would not weigh with the government.
He said: "You're quite right, it may well turn up and say Rugby is a brilliant site, in which case we have to take that on the chin and deal with that. To bury it would be disgraceful."
The seven paragraph resolution was put forward by Conservative leader Cllr Gordon Collett (Dunchurch) and seconded by Labour Cabinet member for regeneration and planning Cllr June Tandy (Nuneaton, Attleborough). It was supported by Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Jerry Roodhouse (Rugby Eastlands).
Three Labour members abstained - Cabinet member for transport, environment and rural affairs Cllr Ken Browne (Warwick North), Cabinet member for resources management Cllr Tim Naylor (Leamington Willes) and Cllr Alan Smith (Polesworth). …