Thousands quizzed over future of airport
The Hoo Peninsula, where
homes will be balloted
More than 20,000 people in the path of a planned international
airport are being asked for their opinion as opponents ramp up
Volunteers for Rochester and Strood MP Mark Reckless are
delivering ballot papers tomorrow to all 6,000 homes on the Hoo
Major architects including Lord Foster, who designed London's
Gherkin building, have eyed up the area for a Thames estuary
Mr Reckless said: “This is a chance for people across the Hoo
Peninsula to have their voices heard and help me get the Davies
Commission to rule out an estuary airport once and for all.”
The commission will rule after 2015 on several ideas
to solve Britain's air capacity problems, including airports in
Cliffe and the Isle of Grain.
Residents will be able to choose a "yes" or "no" answer and
return it to the MP, who has declined to say if he will resign if
the government decides to build an estuary airport.
These will be collected and presented in one of three ways: as a
petition in Parliament, to the commission or to London mayor Boris
Johnson, who supports the idea.
George Crozer from Friends of the North Kent Marshes, who have
backed the ballot, said: “It’s really important we keep the message
alive that they’re talking about an airport on the peninsula.”
Opponents like Mr Crozer argue among other things that an
airport would cause untold environmental damage and cost too much
Those in favour claim it could create thousands of jobs and
attract investment to the area.
The push from campaigners comes at the same time as a 16-page
special report on the issues in today’s Medway Messenger.
The supplement explains how homeowners could win back the full
price of their houses, but with no price on sentimental value.
It also reveals how almost 90% of the local jobs at an airport
could end up being low-grade and low-paid.
Among other exclusives are the story of the £20,000 robotic
birds which it's claimed could clear the estuary of wildlife -
despite doubts by the RSPB.
John Olsen, the man behind a new Cliffe plan, laid down the
gauntlet to Medway Council in an exclusive interview. He said: "Do
you want malnourished and ill-educated children growing up?
A plane flies over
rooftops. Library picture
"The politicians have been watching 40 years of collapse in
Medway. Are they going to wake up and see something needs to be
Yet Medway Council's leader Rodney Chambers, who is firmly
against the idea, threatened to force a planning inquiry on the
scale of Heathrow's Terminal 5 if the government pushes ahead.
In an in-depth interview, he said the council could easily
trigger the legal hearing - which for Heathrow took four years.
The full report is available in today's Medway Messenger.
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