It is becoming increasingly clear that Medway Council’s Rochester Airport Masterplan supported by Kelly Tolhurst and Medway Conservative Councillors is terminally sick and possibly the biggest travesty perpetrated on the people of Medway in recent times.
Our campaign from the outset has been to put the people of Medway first in demanding rightful consultation on the future of Rochester Airport along with alternative options for the use of the land which we as residents of Medway could choose or vote for. Our Conservative Councillors denied us comprehensive democratic consultation and dictated what they wanted.
One of the options for the future use of the land would almost certainly have been an opportunity to offer the site (which we as residents own through Medway Council ) to the NHS Medway Maritime Trust but Kelly Tolhurst would rather have a dirty airport than a prestigious and enviable hospital in Medway where doctors and nurses would want to work.
Those presently benefiting from the airport’s cheap deal are a handful of fly-for-fun aircraft owners, many of whom live out of the area and could easily fly from Headcorn or other more suitable aerodromes.
Despite repeated calls from the local Medway community to at least have a say in possible alternative uses for the Rochester Airport site, Medway’s arrogant Conservative Council steadfastly refuses to listen to local people by not allowing proper public consultation on its flawed airport masterplan.
Objections have been voiced concerning the diminishing safety of the airport that is now hemmed in on all sides by road, residential developments, schools and local industry. Concerns range from aircraft parts falling – as happened recently – to the real risk of a full-blown aircraft crash.
A New NHS Hospital
Our NHS Medway Maritime Hospital staff are brilliant but the old Victorian site is severely constrained and with an expanding Medway population the hospital and staff are extremely challenged.
It is not surprising that it is becoming difficult to recruit GP’s to the area when they look at our overcrowded piecemeal hospital with a mix of old naval hospital buildings and bolt on extensions.
The old hospital site does not have the land to build elderly care centres alongside the main hospital and now being forced to fragment its various expanding departments (Will Adams Centre) into small disparate units dotted around the Medway Towns.
Opposition political parties are now waking up to the fact that the old Rochester Airport site would make an ideal location for a new Medway Maritime Hospital next-door to the new Kent Fire Brigade HQ.
An Ideal Location
A rent of £30K per year for the use of the 110 acre site would give the financially-strapped NHS a real boost. It would allow the Trust to design and build a hospital for Medway to be proud of. It would be a major benefit to the whole of the community rather than a small number of hobby flyers, whose only contribution is noise and potential hazard.
A new hospital would be built to modern thermally efficient standards, reducing energy costs for the new hospital buildings and all of the hospital departments could be situated on one site.
The airport land is nice and flat – ideal for a new hospital – and the easy access afforded by bus and the nearby A229, A2/M2 and the M20 would make the Rochester Airport land the best logical location.
Are you prepared to allow Medway Council’s ruling Conservatives to squander this once in a lifetime opportunity to build a new, state-of-the-art Medway Maritime Hospital for the benefit of all?