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CN Briefing: Gatwick airport, new runways, airport expansion, Raymond Melee

This morning at the Construction News Breakfast Club at Claridge’s Hotel, Gatwick Airport’s development director appealed for help from the industry leaders gathered in the room.

Together, he hopes that they will deliver £1.2bn of work over the next five years, but the main point of business over coffee and scrambled eggs was making the case for a second runway at Gatwick.

While the conversation that ensued within those walls was under the Chatham House Rule, I sat down with Raymond Melee afterwards to discuss the airport’s plans.

How do you continue to plan for expansion of the airport when the government is set to rule within months on the location of a new runway (or possibly delay the decision even further)?

Mr Melee insists Gatwick is seeing increasing support from businesses.

And while those in the room included companies that already have pledged support for a third runway at Heathrow, there were plenty of people keen to set up meetings with Mr Melee and his team.

Privately, both Heathrow and Gatwick are lobbying hard for business support.

The problem Gatwick faces is that the evidence suggests that business is on the side of Heathrow.

A letter to the chancellor signed by 13 contractors and developers urging support for Heathrow was published on Sunday.

Though it won’t necessarily speed up the government’s decision, the size and influence of those businesses does at least add pressure. Gatwick could do with greater evidence to show that businesses are coming around to it as the more viable option.

But public and business support only goes so far. However much it might not like the idea, the government needs to make a decision, fast.

See the full interview with Raymond Melee on constructionnews.co.uk on Friday.

News, moves, views

The news merry-go-round was in full swing today, with this morning bringing the revelation that Kier had walked away from a major London regen job. While, by late this afternoon, the firm been replaced, thanks to some quick work from the Chinese client.

There were a couple of major job moves, with Amey CEO Mel Ewell announcing his retirement and a senior director at Morgan Sindall upping sticks.

And finally, read FMB’s Brian Berry on the hopes and fears for SMEs in 2016.

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