News from British and Canadian Conservatives

Monday, January 14, 2008

Lydd Airport decision delayed

Shepway District Council has announced today that the decision on the Lydd Airport planning applications will not now be taken on 30th January, as previously planned. Apparently there is still further information required about the noise and ecological issues. Whilst it is obviously important that councillors have the full information they require to take an informed decision, I think it's a pity that the uncertainty will continue. The BBC reports a delay of between 2 and 6 months, which seems far too long. The longer the decision is delayed, the longer peoples' lives are blighted by uncertainty and the longer businesses across the marsh, expecially the airport itself, are kept in limbo, which is not good. It does not present a good image of the district as a place to do business.

Even after the decision is taken by the council, there is a good chance that the decision will be called in for a public enquirym which will lead to further delays and uncertainty. Based on the information I have seen, all of which has come from the respective pro and anti-development campaigns, I think that the proposals will, ultimately, be approved. However, I can see the owners of the airport losing interest if there is a protracted battle, as happened at West Wood when Rank wanted to develop a holiday village in the old plantation. That may even be what the opponents of the proposals are banking on, but it would be an afront to democracy.

Only time will tell, and objective information which has not been provided by groups with vested interests in the development will be welcome.

In a related matter, I see that some marsh residents are complaining that when the decision is taken, they will have to watch it on the television in another room, as the visitors' gallery can only hold the 40 people required to give evidence to the council. I can't see what the problem with that is, as long as they get the sound right and everyone can hear properly. The decision will even be webcast, allowing people all over the district to see the deliberations. It seems that some people are determined to complain about anything and everything. Admittedly, reading this blog you may think that's a case of the pot calling the kettle black. However, I think it's quite clear that Shepway is doing everything necessary to ensure that the decision is taken properly, deomocratically and openly, which is all that anyone can really ask for, even though many of us will disagree with the decision whichever way it goes. That's democracy.

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