Friday, January 29, 2010

A letter to the Prime Minister..........

...from Hasty Lane resident Holly Johnson.
Friday, 20 November 2009
Dear Mr Brown,
My name is Holly Johnson, and I am writing to inform you that Labour has lost mine, my family and my friends vote in the next General Election and Local Election. The reason for this is simple. Yesterday five Labour Councillors approved plans by Manchester Airport to demolish my family home and my neighbour’s home. Manchester Airport proposed plans to build one air freight transit unit and a four lane dual carriageway, which would be built over the top of mine and my neighbour’s houses. I feel that these Councillors have not given enough thought to the devastating loss that mine and my neighbour’s family will suffer, due to the unnecessary demolition of our family homes. The split which was on party lines with 5 Labour members voting in favour, and all 4 Liberal Democrats against. Several Labour members abstained or left the chamber for the vote. By a majority of one, the decision to leave two families homeless was made.
The Labour members who voted for approval, in my opinion, were certainly not voting from an independent or informed viewpoint, they were voting purely on the basis of the Labour hierarchy’s instructions. My local MP, Paul Goggins, has objected, along with other MPs, MEPs, Councillors from all mainstream parties and over 1000 signatures have been collected from across the UK. I think this exposes the Manchester Labour party as the personal thiefdom of Richard Leese, and all those Councillors with an independent viewpoint i.e. the local Wythenshawe Area Committee who voted unanimously to reject this proposal at an earlier convened meeting, were subsequently ignored and therefore the people of Wythenshawe including myself were denied their democratic rights and in my opinion local and grassroots decisions obviously mean nothing to the Labour Party.
I cannot express to you how much these particular plans are so unnecessary at this particular moment in time. I am not against the Airport’s expansion where it is needed; they create vital employment for the local area of Wythenshawe, but the plans which have just been approved are so unwarranted at this moment in time, I am finding it hard to believe that anyone could see any positive aspects or need of this freight unit and dual carriageway. The planning application for the freight unit and dual carriageway which were approved yesterday were revised plans, after the Airport originally had planned to demolish every house on Hasty Lane. The original plans were rejected on 25th September 2008 by Wythenshawe Area Committee on the grounds that the applicant had not sufficiently justified the economic benefits of the expansion of the cargo facilities to justify the loss of the listed building, Rose Cottage. The revised plans now leave Rose Cottage and The Cottage surrounded by an unsightly air freight unit, the proposed new dual carriageway and a 151 space car park, rather than the beautifully preserved ecology that currently surrounds it. Even though Rose Cottage has been ‘saved’, the applicant has still not sufficiently justified the economic benefits of expanding the cargo facilities, and yet the plans have been approved. I am appalled and see your support along with other MPs and MEPs as vital in our continued fight against this ghastly decision.
Holly's letter reprinted in the MEN
Air freight at Manchester Airport has dropped significantly to approximately half the amount it reached two years ago. These plans were drawn up several years ago when air freight was steadily climbing. At the time, freight reached a peak in November 2007 when over 16'000 tonnes of freight passed through Manchester Airport in that month.
Since then, however, the recession has hit the Airport hard, and it has had 18 consecutive months of declining freight tonnage. Indeed, the worst month this year saw only 6'800 tonnes of freight moving through the airport. This air freight unit will nearly double air freight capacity at Manchester Airport and it clearly isn’t needed. As air freight is still in ‘negative growth’ and has been since May 2008, how long, if ever, will it take Manchester Airport to recover to 2007 levels? If airlines went beyond their allocated limit, they could purchase carbon credits through the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).
Long term, the UK has set a goal of not exceeding 2005 mission levels, regardless of the ETS, meaning that airlines would eventually be prevented from purchasing credits that would exceed their allocation. Even if air freight made a strong recovery, it would need to be kept at 2005 levels by 2050, unless airlines purchase highly expensive credits. Even this is not sustainable, as extra credits will become prohibitively expensive, and eventually prohibited by law. How can the airport justify doubling the 2007 capacity when they know they won’t even be able to sustain a recovery beyond the 2005 levels?
Considering how climate change is one of Labour’s main focuses and will always continue to be, how can five of Labour councillors approve plans which go against reducing aviation emissions and actually put £20million towards helping to increase them? It will prove to be an incredible waste of £20million, mostly made up of tax-payers money, to double air freight capacity which will simply lay empty in the future due to existing legislation. I’m sure tax-payers would be extremely interested and outraged to know that their money is actually going towards helping to increase aviation emissions, instead of helping to ensure an excellent quality of life for our environment and future generations. I am sure instead that the DECC would welcome £20million in order to support their work.
After hundreds of people’s homes were devastatingly destroyed this week due to flooding, how can five Labour Councillors allow two more homes to be unnecessarily destroyed and see two families being made homeless? Surely in any circumstance, you would rather see families having safe and secure homes to live in rather than being made homeless?
Mr Brown, I hope you will carefully consider everything I have written in this letter and I would urge you to support mine and my neighbour’s families, and do anything in your power to ensure that we are able to keep our homes.
Yours sincerely,
Holly Johnson.

Sign the online petition to the Prime Minister here:


  1. Hi,
    my name's Sophie and I’m a first year journalism student at UCLAN, Preston. I've been set an assignment which requires myself and three others, to find a current news story and then record a TV interview with someone involved. It would also be great if that person were to have a strong opinion on the subject.
    My group member John found this website a few weeks ago, and after reading up, we've all agreed that it's extremely newsworthy. What's more, this specific post makes you an ideal candidate for an interviewee! We were therefore wondering what the possibility would be of you letting us come and interview you?
    It'd be much appreciated if you could contact me before the end of this week, my email is

    Many thanks,
    Sophie and the Group