TWO topics occupying our thoughts today in Hounslow are, firstly, the proposed expansion of Heathrow and then the state of the High Street and other shopping centres in the area.

Contributions to the Chronicle's letters pages indicate the concerns that exist among readers.

No easy solutions, most will agree, will be found to these worrying matters.

As far as the shopping centre image is concerned we should, perhaps, resign ourselves to the fact that current conditions meet the approval of the majority of local shoppers, and leave it at that.

Changes for the better in today's economic climate are unlikely to come about.

On the continuing question of finding an alternative to Heathrow Airport's Third Runway, Mr Wellstead's suggestion last week that Manston Airport might be considered does not seem to have been received with much enthusiasm, probably because its situation in rather far away Thanet, in Kent, rules it out.

Developing Northolt as an alternative to bulldozing Sipson and other communities flat has probably got the thumbs down from the RAF, who use it now, and Biggin Hill is probably not large enough for a major air terminal.

Looks like our new Mayor of London's suggestion that perhaps a place in the east of London might be the answer to our worries here is worth exploring.

Where will the money come from though?

Priority should perhaps be given to housing the many low-wage earners and there is always the spectre of the bill for the Olympic Games hovering over our heads.

Readers may not be aware that rate payers in Montreal are still suffering to clear debts from their Olympic extravaganza 32 years ago.

Dark days ahead, I fear, with our having to tighten belts and draw our hoods over our heads and just thole it, until our prime minister conjures up some of his financial wizardry of past years and puts it all right again.

JIM PASQUAL Estridge Close, Hounslow.