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Kent Air Ambulance moving base to Rochester Airport

Kent's air ambulance is set to move to Rochester Airport, ending a 25-year connection with the Weald.

Planning permission to move the charity's base was approved by Medway Council in mid-June.

But it was put on hold after an objector called for the government to intervene over concerns about noise, traffic, safety and pollution.

The air ambulance. Library picture courtesy of Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance
The air ambulance. Library picture courtesy of Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance

The lack of an environmental impact assessment was also cited.

It meant a wait to hear whether Communities Secretary Sajid Javid would call in the plans – taking the decision out of the local authority’s hands.

But Medway has since received confirmation the plea had been rejected.

Writing on behalf of Mr Javid, senior planning manager Mike Hale, responded: “The Secretary of State has decided, having had regard to this policy, not to call in this application.

"He is content that it should be determined by the local planning authority.”

The Hangar 10 base at Redhill
The Hangar 10 base at Redhill

Adrian Bell, chief executive Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance Trust, said: “I am absolutely delighted the planning application for our new offices at Rochester Airport has been approved.

"The combination of a service hub at Redhill Aerodrome, and forward operating base at Rochester, will allow us to deploy and maintain our new aircraft in the most effective, efficient and sustainable way to best support our patients where and when they might need us.”

Eleven people objected to the relocation plans, compared to 235 letters in support.

The charity will aim to start work on building a new office, which will house up to 60 staff from the air ambulance trust’s management, administration and fundraising teams, as well as visiting pilots.

It was hoped the work would be complete by the autumn, when the trust takes delivery of new, larger helicopters which had outgrown the helipad at Marden.

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