Garden centres reaction to Heathrow expansion plans

It is "business as usual" at Ansell Garden Centre despite Heathrow’s £31bn new blueprint to double the size of the airport with two new runways, which was published this July.

Heathrow predicted a third runway could be built by 2025 and a fourth could be decided on from 2030.

West Drayton-based Ansell Garden Centre owner Paresh Raithatha said: "It’s business as usual for us. We’re putting on double digit growth every year. It’s our tenth year next year and business has grown by eight-fold in 10 years. We’re looking to extend and add concessions but our growth is in core gardening. We’re selling trolleys and trolleys of plants this year."

He said things are "just as much up in the air as before" but eventually the runways will be built.

Raithatha added that people are coming to terms with the plans, but it may take 10 years of more before his business is compulsorily purchased.

One runways expansion option would affect Vermuelen’s garden centre on the other side of the airport to Ansell’s at Stanwell Moor too.

Owner Peter Vermeulen said: "We're on one of the plans but I hope we don't get compulsorily purchased because I've been here 20 years and we won't get what it's worth." He said because Heathrow mainly owns land on the other side of the airport to him, he believes the option to build on his site is less likely and will give him the chance to carry on developing his site.

The Davies Commission will consider up to 10 airport plans by 2015.

London mayor Boris Johnson will make proposals for an alternative airport to the east of London later in July.


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