If you are a resident in Southend (certainly in Southend West) then you probably have a very strong opinion one way or the other on the proposed expansion of Southend Airport. The once major airport has fallen rapidly in recent decades and now can only to said to be a small regional airport. However for years it has been mooted that the airport was going to expand and news today that it will be the new home of EasyJet shows that it will indeed happen and they are serious about this expansion.
Now personally speaking the airport’s expansion will have very little direct impact on my life. I do not live under the flight path and will not be after any of the 300 or so jobs that the expansion will create. 300 jobs seems low to me for such a major project. This is as always a polarising issue as there are some people who welcome the opportunity for new jobs both in the expansion of the airport and with the airlane but there are those who do not want the noise of planes going overhead. The flight path will go over some 20,000 homes and will obviously impact house prices to some degree.
The fact that one of the three routes already announced by EasyJet of Southend-Ibiza is telling. I can certainly see from a business point of view smaller airlines moving their operations away from the big airports and towards these satellite airports that are still within an hour of the capital by either car or train. For the local area it would be best served for the airport to expand. I have little doubts about that. If Southend Airport was to become the main hub for EasyJet and potentially other airlanes then jobs would grow both within the airport but also for businesses outside the airport to supply goods and services to the staff and passengers of the airport.
Southend as an area has a bad rap but I have lived in this area on and off now for the best part of three years. If they re-branded this coastline as the Essex Riviera then I think it would do wonders. Essex as a whole has a reputation and it is not valid across the whole of the county. Yes there are areas that are slightly worse than others but that is the same everywhere you go. Those who watch The Only Way Is Essex need to understand that whilst the show is real, it is not an accurate portrayal of Essex life. Southend itself is not a bad town at all with some extremely nice areas. The influx of a major airport will attract more business to come with it.
Whilst house prices may be hit in the short-term by the flight path issue, it needs to be noted that if the airport becomes a significant player in the short-haul flight game then the whole area will benefit from more jobs and business. This in turn will raise house prices as it will become a place where people will want to move for work purposes.
Personally I don’t care either way and I can see both sides of the issue. Still I do know that when I go clubbing in Ibiza I won’t have far to travel to get on a plane. Yeah me in Ibiza…
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