Please God, may this never become a reality…
“As we will shortly be beginning our descent into the Much Greater London Area, I have an announcement for those who will be continuing their journey from the airport by car, bus, train, ferry, wave-piercing catamaran, bicycle, foot or bathing suit.
“In case you haven’t noticed, we have yet to cross the English Channel. This is because we will be landing first. London-Sangatte, Gateway to the Home Counties, is conveniently located yards from the southern entrance to the Channel Tunnel, giving easy access not only to Central London (82 minutes), but also to the glories of Ashford and Ebsfleet, Picardy and Paris.
“I suspect from the ruckus in row 56 that some of you may have been ill-advised by your travel agents or failed to read the small print during the online booking process. Please calm down. Fully flexible one-way fares to London from nearby Calais Fréthun start at just €202.50, and we have negotiated special wind surfboard hire rates . . .
“Ouch! Kindly take your seat, sir, or I may be forced to have you arrested on landing. Those still in doubt as to Sangatte’s right to host London’s newest airport may like to know it is 30 miles closer to the capital than ‘Madrid Sur’, formely Ciudad Real’s regional airport, is to Madrid; also, that under new regulations approved by the Association of Dodgy Airport Operators we will shortly be launching services from Belfast-Douglas (on the Isle of Man) to London Southwest (attractively located in Bodmin), and from Naples-Palermo to London North, aka East Midlands International. We wish you a pleasant onward journey.”
– one of today’s leaders in the Times. It’s not where an airport is located that worries me so much; it’s the effect it has on our sense of place. It strikes me that, as soon as we build an out-of-town development, the rationale for filling in the gap – in terms of building on the land between here and there – becomes that much easier for planning authorities to consume.