is therefore recommended that the council accepts the Inspectors recommendations for
a combined airport and science and technology park..."
Such is the conclusion of the Council Cabinet's response
to the Inspector's report (reported last March) in
relation to Rochester Airport. The response can be downloaded (in Word document format)
from the Council's web site and is organised as...
- A general response to the Inspector's Report
- Appendix 1 which is a detailed response related to the airport issue
- Appendix 2 which is a breakdown of the Inspector's report and the
- Appendix 3 which is a schedule of proposed modifications to the Local
Although couched in terms that still leaves one
doubting the commitment to the retention of the airport, the cabinet does accept that the
complete redevelopment of the airport cannot be justified. Instead it is recommending
adoption of the compromise solution, foregoing the housing development, reducing the area
to be allocated to the technology park development from 33ha to 25ha, and retaining one of
the current two runways.
Although this represents encouraging news for
the airport, it is not without some concerns. The Cabinet recommendation has yet to go
before the whole Council. As Professor Richard Tedder, the chairman of Rochester Airport
PLC explains: "The political difference between the cabinet and the council poses
a risk that the decision will be reversed by the full council when they meet to discuss it".
Furthermore, the resolution of the
recommendation is ambiguous, including the statement that "...further technical
work be undertaken to assess the relative merits of retaining each of the runways, the
investment that would be necessary, the economic feasibility and the best configuration of
development on the site."
This refers to making the decision about which
of the runways is to be retained under the revised plan. What it serves also to do is
further obscure the long term future of the facility even in the face of the Inspector's
conclusion that "...the Airport could develop and expand its operations and
activities in the future, particularly with security of tenure and a longer lease."