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Chapter 16: Socio-Economics of the PEIR considers the potential socio-economic effects of the Project during the construction and operational phases. Socio-economics is a broad topic that includes the assessment of multiple effect types such as new employment, implications for the labour market and population, disruption to business and community activities.

Assessment Methodology

The assessment analyses the potential socio-economic effects of the Project on receptors in up to four separate study areas (ie site, local, labour market and five authorities area (see footnote 2) – see Figure below), depending on the nature of the effect being assessed. The study areas are cumulative, so the wider areas incorporate the local areas.

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Project Boundary, Local Study Area, Labour Market Areas, and Five Authorities Area

A desk study has been undertaken to identify the existing and future socio-economic conditions within each of the study areas. A range of further sources has been consulted in respect of social and community infrastructure provision as part of the desk study. Economic modelling undertaken for the Project has also informed the assessment.

Current Baseline Environment

The local study area has seen an increase in its total population of 6.7%, growing from 140,798 to 150,244 over the period from 2011- 2019. The population of the labour market area increased by 6.4% over the same period, with the largest growth among residents aged 65 and over, and lowest growth in the working-age population (people aged 16-64) (17.6% and 3% respectively). The five authorities area also saw the number of residents increase from 4,210,913 to 4,489,665 between 2011 and 2019.

In total, there were 111,000 employees within the local study area in 2019. In the labour market area, there were an estimated 1,055,377 people in employment in 2019, while the equivalent in the five authorities area was 2,335,127 people.

Mean workplace earnings in the labour market and five authorities area were all lower than the equivalent resident earnings values as of 2020. The mean values of workplace earnings in the labour market area for full-time workers and total workers were lower than in the five authorities area, while part-time earnings were higher in the labour market area.

In terms of housing, the average price of dwellings sold in the local study area was £319,098 in the year ending in September 2020, representing an increase of 20% since 2015 and 53% since 2010. House prices in the five authorities area vary widely between authorities ranging from £230,000 in Hastings to £600,000 in Elmbridge. With average prices of £319,098 the local study area has slightly higher average prices than Crawley (£295,000).

In 2011, there were 57,531 dwellings in the local study area. In 2019, the total housing stock in the labour market area and five authorities area equated to 918,755 and 1,945,531 dwellings respectively. The total housing stock in both study areas increased by 7.8% and 7.5% respectively between 2009 and 2019, compared with the England average for the period (7.6%).

There are 17 community spaces within the local study area. These serve a range of functions and include local community-owned or operated community centres and public halls, halls or centres owned by or connected to places of worship and halls connected to local Scout or Brownie clubs. There are also a number of open spaces, including public parks and gardens within the local study area. A total of 217 designated open spaces (equating to approximately 544 hectares of open space) are identified within the local study area.  Within the Project site boundary or adjacent to it, are three open spaces: an area of urban open space at St. Bartholomew’s Church to the north of the A23, a tennis court in Buckingham Gate car park and Riverside Garden Park.

Mitigation Measures

A number of measures have been designed into the Project to reduce the potential for socio-economic impacts.

The Code of Construction Practice will include measures to ensure construction contractors and processes follow practices that minimise disruption. This includes measures such as construction traffic management, set hours of work and alternative access routes. This will inform the preparation of detailed mitigation measures for any other adverse effects on local businesses and the community for the duration of the Project construction phase. The Code of Construction Practice will also detail measures for community engagement.

Funding linked to the operation of the Project is likely to be distributed through measures such as the Gatwick Airport Community Fund and grants for noise insulation. Details on such measures are yet to be confirmed and will be informed through further consultation. Additionally, compensation would be provided to adversely affected stakeholders to help mitigate effects such as business displacement and the viability of community facilities and services during construction.

In terms of enhancement measures, an Employment, Skills and Business Strategy would be adopted to continue and expand activities undertaken by Gatwick to support career entry (for graduates and apprenticeships), training and other work opportunities. These measures would enhance the potential beneficial employment and labour market impacts of the Project. The Project would also include the adoption of a Business Support Strategy to link Gatwick with providers in the supply chain and through local procurement initiatives. These measures would enhance the potential catalytic and wider impacts/benefits of the Project.

Potential Significant Effects

The assessment shows that the Project would generate additional construction jobs which can be filled by the existing and projected labour supply within the labour market area. The Project is expected to generate some disruption to business and residents (eg through changes to traffic and noise levels); however, no significant effects are expected in most cases. The Project is not expected to increase the need for housing above what is already planned for by neighbouring local authorities.

Some significant effects have been identified including beneficial effects through the generation of construction and operational employment across the four different phases of this socio-economic assessment. In particular, within the local study area the Project has been assessed to have a significant beneficial effect on employment at the interim assessment and final design years. There is also a significant beneficial effect identified on the supply chain employment opportunities in the opening year. Some of these effects will be subject to further enhancement measures which will be outlined in further detail at the Environmental Statement stage.

There are also some significant adverse effects identified by the assessment. The first relates to the loss of Open Space (ie less than one hectare of open space) and measures including re-provision of the entire loss and further enhancements to the rest of the open space provision are predicted to mitigate the effect. The second relates to business disruption within the site boundary during the interim year. Mitigation measures would include a detailed construction management plan and a compensation schedule that will address and minimise those impacts. Finally, there are moderate adverse effects on labour market in the local study area identified in the interim assessment and design years. These effects would be mitigated by the Outline Employment, Skills and Business Strategy. In all cases, mitigation would reduce the effects to not significant.   

The majority of the developments identified which could potentially result in cumulative effects are estimated to be completed during the early stages of initial construction phase for the Project. Therefore, the construction activity generated by the other proposed developments is unlikely to overlap with the Project. In addition, most of the operational effects for the Project are considered to remain valid and unchanged by the inclusion of the cumulative developments across all the assessment phases.


2 - The five authorities area reflects where the widest socio-economic effects of the Project could impact on receptors.

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