Rochester: Airport Renovation Get Go Ahead

Plans for a major renovation project at Rochester Airport have been given full planning permission by the local council. Plans to secure the long-term and profitable future of Rochester Airport and provide up to 1,000 local jobs have been given the go ahead.

Officials say the work will create skilled jobs, enhance tourism and restore the aviation hub to its former glory.

Many of the buildings and facilities at the site date back to the 1930s and are reaching the end of their useful life, with a number of the organisations there operating out of temporary huts or Portakabins.

But now, following public consultation and consideration by Medway Council’s Planning Committee, Rochester Airport is to get a new lease of life.

The scheme includes:
- A paved runway to allow modern small aircraft to take off and climb to a higher altitude very quickly, meaning that less residents will be affected by noise.
- A grass runway to allow the nationally recognised Medway Aircraft Preservation Society (MAPS) to continue to use the site for heritage aircraft and open days.
- The decommissioning of a second grass runway, freeing up more than 10ha within the airport’s grounds for the development of high-tech business, science or technology.
- Three hangars, one to be occupied by the Medway Aircraft Preservation Society.
- A new control tower
- A hub building with office and administrative facilities for the airport and a café.
- The relocation of the airport’s two helipads

The changes are set to make the site a new aviation heritage attraction and encourage more people to visit Medway. While at the same time, protecting the site and securing major private sector investment.

The site will not become a full-scale commercial passenger carrying airport.

Deputy Leader of Medway Council Cllr Alan Jarrett said: “We aim to safeguard aviation for business, heritage and leisure use in this well-connected location as well as releasing new land for jobs in Medway.

“Now these plans have been approved, we can look forward to work commencing later in the year. Public investment will be more than repaid from the development of high-tech business facilities, which will bring new jobs and increasing prosperity to Medway.”

Medway Council worked with airport specialists and neighbouring businesses, including BAE Systems, and evaluated a number of different options for the future of Rochester Airport.

After much consideration it was concluded that the proposals for future development at Rochester Airport achieve the right balance for local residents, businesses and airport users.