of the airport at Rochester will once again come under scrutiny when the Local Plan
inquiry re-opens in September 2001.
previously adjourned the inquiry leaving only the future of Rochester Airport to be
considered, the issue has now been the subject of two council commissioned surveys and has
been voted on by three council sub-committees and also the full council. The surveys, one
conducted by W.S.Atkins as part of a report into the options available for Rochester, the
other a MORI door-step survey, both showed a majority support for retention of the airport
in one form or another (92% and 59% respectively). However, in each of the votes
(Economic and Europe, Policy and Resources, Transport and Planning and full council), the
last of which was held on April 11th, the result came out narrowly in favour of airport
closure and redevelopment. The Local Plan inquiry will decide whether the council's
deposited plans relating to the future of the airport are accepted or rejected by the
On the basis of the various council votes it looks highly likely that Medway Council will
persist in its determination to close the airport completely and redevelop the land unless
the objectors to the Local Plan can convince the planning inspector that the council is
not acting according either to the wishes of the people or the guidance given by
government in its planning policy guidance documents.
The apparent lack of regard by Medway council of
government guidance in PPG13, and particularly the latest revision, is already the subject
of an allegation of maladministration against Medway Council. Furthermore, Medway Council
are being told by DETR Aviation Policy Unit that Paragraph 6 of Annex B, PPG13, shall be
complied with. Local Plan inspectors have already asked Medway Council to comment upon
other alterations in Government policy which have recently occurred and will be obliged to
take into account.
If, in spite of all this, the deposit local plan enshrines a policy of closure, then a
similar appeal is possible in the form of a judicial review and a calling in of the local
plan by the DETR.