Anger at poor advertising of public meeting
THE Airports Commission has rebuffed calls to reschedule a public meeting to discuss Heathrow’s planned expansion after people complained it was ‘poorly advertised’.
The ticket only sold-out event due to take place as the Herald went to press yesterday (Wednesday) at the Park Inn in Heathrow for ‘local stakeholders’ to voice their views on the airport’s proposals.
The public discussion session, which was attended by Spelthorne Borough Council leader Cllr Robert Watts, was advertised through Twitter and campaign community groups HACAN and SHE with tickets being made available on online ticketing site Eventbrite.
But people who live in Stanwell say it is a ‘national outrage’ that the event was not properly advertised.
“This is a major public body that will make a major recommendation to the government which could affect us for the rest of our lives,” said Stanwell resident Andrew McLuskey.
“Worst of all it emerged, after a great deal of enquiry, that such advertising as there had been regarding tickets for the event had been on a website I guess no one here had heard about – with no mention on the Commission’s own website. Predictably, when efforts were made to track down and book on the obscure website, all the tickets had been sold out.
“In the circumstances – and if the consultation and the Commission is to retain any credibility at all – the event should have been postponed until everyone with a legitimate interest has been given a fair chance to register.”
Roberto Tambini, chief executive of Spelthorne Borough Council, said his feeling was it had not been well advertised.
“We obviously recognise the Commission needs to hold focused meetings to draw views from various parties,” he said.
“However, it would have been helpful if keen residents had been advised early enough to at least have been able to be asked to be present. We know there is a need to get on with the meeting, but if they are persuaded by the views or want to hold another meeting, that’s for the commission to do.”
A letter sent to Mr McLuskey by Spelthorne MP Kwasi Kwarteng, states that he too had ‘not received any notification of this meeting, and I agree with you that it has not been well advertised’.
An Airports Commission spokesman said: “Tickets have not been pre-allocated and a wide range of local residents have registered to attend. The discussion session is only one way for local residents to make their views known to the Commission and is by its nature space limited; the main channel for communicating with the Commission is through responses to our consultation at www. gov. uk/ airports- commission.”