HEATHROW would become a new suburb with a population the size of Hounslow's, under proposals unveiled by Boris Johnson today.
The mayor of London today (Monday, July 15) announced plans to build 100,000 homes on the site of the airport, housing some 250,000 people.
He wants to close the existing airport and build a new one on the Thames Estuary, or dramatically expand Stansted.
The proposals were outlined in his submission to the Airports Commission, which is considering the need for extra aviation capacity in the UK.
Mr Johnson said the existing transport connections meant Heathrow was the perfect site for the news homes the capital 'badly needs'.
"The scale would be similar to developing an entire new borough of London in one of the most dynamic, economically vibrant and accessible areas of the capital; with the potential to attract tens of thousands of jobs in an array of different sectors," he said.
"While some workers at Heathrow would relocate to the new airport, many others would find work on a newly developed Heathrow.
"A new hub airport, in a proper location, would release the huge development potential that is buried beneath the tarmac at Heathrow, creating thousands of new jobs."
Hounslow Council and Hounslow Chamber of Commerce have both strongly opposed any move to close Heathrow, claiming it would be a financial disaster for the borough.
In a public consultation by the council earlier this year, 87 per cent of those responding said Heathrow was very or slightly important to the borough's economy.
London Assembly member Dr Onkar Sahota called the mayor's plan 'hare-brained' and said closing Heathrow would cause the 'economic devastation' of west London.
Heathrow is due to submit its rival plans, expected to include proposals for a third runway to the south of the existing two, this Wednesday.