The government has made it quite clear that it will not support a third runway at Heathrow. Despite this, British Airways recently asked Hillingdon council to block development, except airport-related development, around the airport to leave room for expansion. The council refused.
BAA, the airport operator, is holding onto the houses that it purchased when it was expecting to build a third runway. This is presumably because it too has not given up on expansion.
Here is an article from the Uxbridge Gazette.
Council snubs Airport’s request over villages
Sep 14 2011 By Dan Coombs
PROPOSALS by British Airways to ‘set aside’ the Heathrow Villages in case the airport needs a third runway in the future have been rejected by Hillingdon Council.
The airline had asked for all future development in Sipson and Harmondsworth to be rejected, save for hotels, and airport related amenities.
The request was discussed by Hillingdon Council on Thursday night as part of their discussion on the local development framework, and the local authority elected to dismiss the request.
A third runway a Heathrow, opposed by the council, would have led to Sipson being demolished entirely, along with much of Harmondsworth, totalling more than 650 homes.
When it was cancelled last year many in the villages hoped the issue was gone forever, but BA’s request, coupled with BAA’s decision to keep hold of the 280 homes it bought through its bond scheme, show neither of the airport giants have given up on their vision of expansion.