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Action for Airfields - Supporters network helping to support airfields now and for the future Action for Airfields - Supporters network helping to support airfields now and for the future

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Rochester
The history of Rochester Airport begins in 1933 when the local council purchased the land for use as a municipal airport. Throughout its life it has been used variously for aircraft production, military training, and civilian operations. In 1979 the lease reverted to the council, and management of the airport was taken over by Marconi and the site retained as an airfield.

In 1998 the council and Marconi began the process of reviewing opportunities for the site and briefed a planning consultant to maximise the earnings potential of the site. Although 5 options were considered that retained an airport the sixth option was chosen. It was concluded by the Medway Council and Marconi Avionics Study Team that "...the only realistic option to create a high quality development of suitable critical mass able to meet economic and investor's aspirations within a quality environment would be through complete redevelopment and redesign of the airfield site." [Extract from the Joint Meeting of Policy and Resources Committee and Economic Development and Europe Committee - 9th September 1999).

This option, the closure of the airfield and building of a 'Science and Technology Park' plus a housing estate, is currently in the process of being enshrined as policy by the Medway Council Local Plan. This is contrary to advice given in Planning Policy Guidelines (PPG13) that "...authorities should take account of the contribution of this General Aviation (GA) to local and regional economies." Objections to this plan, which is in draft stages, have been over-ruled and Medway Council continues to push for the closure of the airfield. The public inquiry into this plan began in September and is expected to last several months. Airport issues are scheduled to be aired in April 2001 unless the planning inspector decides beforehand that the whole of the plan should be withdrawn.

On 14th January 2000 Rochester Airport PLC took over the running of Rochester Airport for the next 4 years. This company, created by aviation enthusiasts heavily involved in the fight to oppose Medway Council's plans, is dedicated to preserving the airport for the community, its children and grandchildren.
Throughout the negotiations to have the lease assigned, the council has demonstrated its determination that the airport should ultimately be closed, and nothing in the lease should be allowed to prevent that.

As a result, Rochester currently lives on, but only to fight another day. Rochester Airport PLC continues to stand side by side with local residents, the PFA, AOPA, and the Council for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE), in opposition to the council's plans.

Costs to defend the airfield at the local plan inquiry are expected to be in excess of 30,000 with fund raising events being held throughout the year to raise this amount. The enormous costs to the local council, on the other hand, are being borne by the Medway community.
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Local council determined to close airfield, contrary to PPG13 guidance on contribution of GA to local economy

Local plan policy seeks redevelopment of airfield into science park and housing estate

Airfield defence based on opposing local plan in public inquiries

Airfield enjoys the support of the local community

Rochester Airport PLC running the airport until 2004

Costs of defending the airfield estimated at 30,000.

Links:-
sm_bull.jpg (515 bytes)Rochester Web Site
sm_bull.jpg (515 bytes)Planning Info

Elsewhere on A4A:-
sm_bull.jpg (515 bytes)ALERT: Council Poll

sm_bull.jpg (515 bytes)NEWS 09/03/01:
1pix.gif (807 bytes)Local Plan Inquiry
1pix.gif (807 bytes)Delay

sm_bull.jpg (515 bytes)NEWS 22/03/01:
1pix.gif (807 bytes)Council Poll Update

sm_bull.jpg (515 bytes)NEWS 26/04/01:
1pix.gif (807 bytes)Local Plan inquiry to
1pix.gif (807 bytes)re-open Sept 2001

sm_bull.jpg (515 bytes)NEWS 26/03/02:
1pix.gif (807 bytes)Local Plan inquiry
1pix.gif (807 bytes)report supports
1pix.gif (807 bytes)retaining airfield

sm_bull.jpg (515 bytes)NEWS 04/07/02:
1pix.gif (807 bytes)Council to be
1pix.gif (807 bytes)advised to accept
1pix.gif (807 bytes)recommendations to
1pix.gif (807 bytes)retain airfield

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