Environmental impact to the local area
A paved runway will permit significantly heavier aircraft to use the Rochester airport. The picture shows a typical aircraft that could be regularly flying in and out of Rochester Airport for taxi or cargo purposes.
The short takeoff and landing aircraft would be easily capable of lifting off fully loaded (with either 19 passengers or cargo) on the proposed concrete runway.
Whilst every effort is made to make these aeroplanes quiet, perhaps councillors should visit an operational airport using such aircraft.
Why are they noisy? The takeoff noise is significant due to pilots having apply full thrust before moving off. The Masterplan and publicity material is correct in saying takeoff will be quick as the rate of ascent is steep. However landing still requires a reasonably level approach which will necessitate flying for some length over residential areas. This will be very noisy.
It is clear from the Masterplan finances that without such aircraft Rochester Airport will have no chance of survival. Who knows what type of aircraft will be able to use Rochester Airport in the future?
Whether the present club flyers realise it or not, they too will be squeezed by future commercial necessities (similar to the experience at Biggin Hill). They will be marginalised and ultimately forced to move. The characteristics of the airport will completely change and any nostalgic affection for ‘canvass and wire’ biplanes puttering about, presently harboured by Medway residents might turn to distain.
The expansion and commercialisation of Rochester Airport (airfield) will be noisy, pollute the atmosphere, increase Medway’s carbon footprint, and present a threat to community safety should anything fail.
The 1000+ jobs creation is commendable but the lack of any real business strategies beyond imaginings does not instil confidence. However, most of us support the view that we should create jobs.
The Masterplan does not contain any sound strategies to cope with the additional road traffic created by the business/technology park on the west side of the airport.
A simple calculation shows that if only 50% of a 1000 new employees at the site use cars during the 2-hour morning rush, a car will arrive at the site every 14 seconds, and during the evening, will leave at the rate of one car every 11 seconds. In reality cars do not arrive or leave at uniform rate so the future road infrastructure will need to be well-planned and able to cope with the additional load.
Incidentally The road upgrade will need to support not only the proposed new airport jobs and existing industrial users, but also the Horsted housing development, the Sikh temple on the airports west side industrial site, which generates a significant amount of traffic and need for parking on worship days.
Road infrastructure changes and build is very expensive.
The Masterplan shows most access to the new Business/Technology Park via the B2097, however the Bridgewood gyratory, M2 junction and City Way are already heavily congested at peak times. Traffic flow to and from the B2097 is less than satisfactory currently and would need to be significantly improved.
It is difficult to decide whether the motive for the Masterplan is the creation of jobs or Medway Council’s prestige.
The airport alterations will not revitalise the area. However a high-tech business park may achieve the Council’s need to create jobs if it has a well-designed road infrastructure, good prominence, and provides an enjoyable working environment.
The location of a noisy, dangerous, and environmental unfriendly commercial airport alongside a high tech business park will reduce the value of the land, restrict its use and ultimately cost the tax payer even more money through lost rental and council tax revenue.
Residential homes in the direct flight path of the reconfigured airport are likely to drop in price given the safety issues and disturbance.
Building a Technology Park on the west side without good road infrastructure feeding onto the A229 is probably a mistake.
The Masterplan does not seem to have been thought through properly: on a financial basis and NO independent Community Impact Assessment has been undertaken. We would recommend a full Community Impact Assessment be undertaken before the Airport operator’s 25 year lease is renewed.