THE Leader of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has welcomed the decision to expand Heathrow as being good news for businesses in the area.

The government approved a third runway for Heathrow yesterday.

The borough council’s leader Councillor Clive Sanders said: “This expansion would be a real boost to the South East economy, giving easy access to more and more locations and increased airport capacity at a time when business is increasingly being done on the global stage. The borough’s close proximity to Heathrow puts our businesses in a perfect position to benefit.”

The announcement follows the borough council appearing at the UK’s largest property show, MIPIM UK, at Olympia last week. The Basingstoke stand at the event attracted interest, including from minister of state for housing and planning Gavin Barwell MP, who discussed plans for new communities at Manydown and other projects with chief executive Mel Barrett.

The MIPIM event also saw the official signing of an agreement on the Basing View enterprise zone with MP Andrew Percy, parliamentary under-secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government. This will provide rates relief benefits of up to £275,000 over five years to attract more companies to set up in Basing View.

Cllr Sanders continued: “Our great transport links have already seen many international businesses make their home here. We are investing in making it even more attractive to do business in our borough. The regeneration of our town centre business district, Basing View, is attracting lots of interest from major employers.

“We are keen to ensure that the right infrastructure is in place to capitalise on the Heathrow expansion by pushing for direct rail links as well as the good motorway links that we already have to the airport.”