THIS is how Heathrow could look if it is transformed into a new London borough, with up to 150,000 homes.

The team behind the proposed Thames Estuary hub airport today released this image showing its vision for the site of Heathrow.

The airport's two runways would become waterways and a jobs hub would be created around British Airways' Grade II-listed hangar, as part of a development worth an estimated £45 billion.

Thames Estuary Research and Development Company (TESTRAD) claims the 12,000 hectare site could create 200,000 jobs and be home to a new hospital and university, among other facilities.

Heathrow Airport would close if the new six-runway floating London Britannia Airport is built to the east of London, under TESTRAD's plans.

One of the terminals would be retained as a land-based check in from which TESTRAD claims passengers could travel to the new airport in 45 minutes.

The image was released today ahead of the expected publication of the Airports Commission's interim report next week, which is due to set out the preferred options for increased the UK's aviation capacity.

"Over the next 40 to 50 years, as the world continues to develop and grow, London will continue to be attractive and could well grow by another three million people or even more," said Bridget Rosewall, technical director of London Britannia Airport.

"This would require at least another one million dwellings and probably more. This strain on capacity could be met by the reuse of Heathrow, while the airport could operate much more effectively where there are no residents. What's not to like?"