Plans breathe life into Rochester Airport
Plans have been revealed
to revamp Rochester Airport
A major plan to revamp Rochester Airport and attract hi-tech
firms to the site could create up to 1,000 jobs, it's been
The development, announced today, aims to provide
a long-term future for the site.
The airport, first established in 1933, is owned by Medway
council and has been run by Rochester Airport Limited on short,
five-year leases for the past 12 years.
But many of the buildings date back to the 1930s and are
reaching the end of their useful life - with
some organisations operating out of temporary huts or
The council has ruled out developing the area into a full-scale
airport used by passengers, but it wants to put it out to tender on
a new 25-year lease.
Under the proposals, the airport would see its two grass runways
closed and one new parallel grass and paved runway.
This paved runway will allow modern small aircraft to take off
and climb to a higher altitude very quickly, meaning fewer
residents will be affected by noise.
And the grass runway will allow the Medway Aircraft Preservation
Society (MAPS) to continue to use the site for heritage aircraft
and open days.
Some of the
former runway - land of around 12 hectares near the Rochester
Airport Industrial Estate – will then become available as a
development for hi-tech business, science or technology
There will also be major improvements to existing airport
The proposals, which will go before the council’s Cabinet on
December 18, has the potential to eventually create more than 1,000
Cllr Alan Jarrett, deputy leader of Medway Council, said: “I
believe these proposals represent the best possible opportunity to
protect Rochester Airport and secure a major private sector
investment into this important asset in Medway.
“The proposed scheme will safeguard aviation for business,
heritage and leisure use in this well-connected location as well as
releasing new land for jobs in Medway.”
Dick Searle, the chairman of Rochester Airport Limited, added:
“Together with local residents we have fought long and hard to
retain the airport over the past 12 years.
"The combination of closing one runway and modernising the
airport is a good one.
"With low-rise business employment buildings being considered,
we can look forward to an exciting economic future for the area and
a new landmark leisure facility for our neighbours and
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