Heathrow a big is­sue for Hayes

Can­di­dates get to grips with hot top­ics as gen­eral elec­tion ap­proaches

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

HAYES and Har­ling­ton can­di­dates pitched for votes at a hus­tings – with Heathrow, hous­ing and im­mi­gra­tion as hot top­ics.

Labour can­di­date John McDon­nell, ad­dress­ing the crowds St Anselm’s Church, in Hayes, on Tues­day last week, claimed a third run­way at Heathrow – if al­lowed to go ahead – would cost lives.

He said: “A min­i­mum of eight peo­ple per year die in this area as a re­sult of air pol­lu­tion. If a third run­way goes ahead, we will have a large num­ber of peo­ple chok­ing to death.”

His UKIP op­po­nent Cliff Dixon, said his party was the only one with a man­i­festo com­mit­ment against ex­pan­sion.

He added: “I’ve got a lot of re­spect for John McDon­nell for the way he’s fought for the run­way, but the prob­lem is, I don’t trust his party.”

Mr Dixon said proHeathrow ex­pan­sion sup­port­ers had not thought about the “hous­ing, in­fra­struc­ture, pol­lu­tion and dev­as­ta­tion to the vil­lages which are cen­turies old”.

The Green Party’s Alick Munro said he wanted less flights im­me­di­ately, and claimed: “I see peo­ple with runny noses, itchy eyes, and coughs sev­eral times a day near Heathrow.”

Con­ser­va­tive Pearl Lewis said de­ci­sions on Heathrow ex­pan­sion should be in­formed by the facts not the air­port’s pro­pa­ganda.

She said: “We’ve all seen how they’ve plas­tered West­min­ster tube sta­tion with all their posters and that’s no co­in­ci­dence they’ve cho­sen that tube sta­tion.

“It’s the big­gest threat to our com­mu­nity and I would fight tooth and nail to op­pose it.”

The seat re­mained empty for Lib­eral Demo­crat can­di­date Sat­nam Khalsa who did not at­tend.

Hous­ing was the most popular is­sue aris­ing from sub­mis­sions from the au­di­ence.

Labour and the Greens were in agree­ment of in­creas­ing av­er­age ten­ancy lengths but the Con­ser­va­tive can­di­date dis­agreed.

Ms Lewis said: “In­tro­duc­ing rent caps will mean land­lords won’t want to in­vest in prop­erty so I can’t see how that will help.”

On im­mi­gra­tion UKIP’s Mr Dixon said an in­creas­ing pop­u­la­tion was driv­ing house prices up lo­cally. “It’s hous­ing as­so­ci­a­tions from cen­tral Lon­don mov­ing peo­ple to Hilling­don, dis­plac­ing peo­ple that were here al­ready.”

He later made a com­ment on mur­dered school­girl Alice Gross that si­lenced the room, but praised the im­mi­grants of the 1970s.

Mr McDon­nell raised the spir­its say­ing: “We’re a mul­ti­cul­tural mi­grant com­mu­nity.

“We live in har­mony and peace and I’m so proud. Ev­ery com­mu­nity that has come to Hayes has made a con­tri­bu­tion and put some­thing back into the com­mu­nity.”

The de­bate was or­gan­ised by Hilling­don In­ter­faith net­work.

Polling sta­tions open to­mor­row (Thurs­day) from 7am un­til 10pm.

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