Medway Council last night unveiled their proposed vision for Rochester airport much to the disappointment of some residents.
The vision includes outlined selected areas of land, which will be used for employment, the redeveloped airport and the new concrete runway. A new hotel could even be built on the surrounding land if a planning application is put forward and approved.
Catherine Smith, the council’s development policy and engagement manager, explained the proposals for the £4.4 million revamp.
She said that: “The key proposals for the master plan are the improvements to airport facilities, better access to heritage and leisure, a permanent base for the Medway Aviation and preservation society and the creation of new parallel grass and pavements runways”.
She continued: “Importantly one of the design principles in the master plan is to improve circulation and particularly provision for cyclists, pedestrians and public transport which is poor at the moment.
“In terms of urban design the council seeks to put the land to the best of its use for the airport operations”.
However some residents at the meeting believed that the council have ignored their concerns regarding noise and safety surrounding the airport.
The last time the airport master plan was discussed in public was at the full council meeting on 29 January when the plan was given the go ahead and members of the public were given a limited amount of time to ask councillors questions.
Residents last night felt that they were again not being listened to.
Mr Fowler, who lives at the top of City Way in Rochester said, “I’m going to be greatly impacted by the changes. One thing the council hasn’t really taken on board is the implications of safety to residents.
“As the council noted in the meeting, there’s going to be a significant increase in flights and for the council to stick its’ head in the sand and say if something happens it’s down to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) the point is it’s too late.
“It’s the responsibility of the councilors to ensure and safeguard the safety of residents as they do in education and therefore they have to consider the impact if it’s proven to be unsafe then they can’t go ahead with the plan.”
Mr Fowler explains that the council’s own survey has shown that residents don’t want the airport to change as 75% of people voted against the plan.
Fred Montague, of Bentley Way, Chatham, believes that the expansion of the airport will commercialise the area and says it is not what people who live in Medway want.
“We don’t mind the hobby fliers, they’re ok but allegedly we’re going to get twin engine turbo planes doing a bit more than that. We haven’t got the full picture and the council are not giving us the chance to have our say”.
Sue Haggerty, Maidstone Road, Chatham expressed her anger at the noise that the airport already causes which is why she does not want the expansion to go ahead.
For more information about the airport click here to see who’s supporting the scheme and a closer look at the master plan layout.