Green light for £25 million runway extension and new terminal in Kent Plans to develop Lydd Airport in Kent into a modern regional airport have been given the green light by the Government today (Weds 10th April) after ministers agreed with a Planning Inspector’s recommendation to grant approval for a multi-million-pound development.
Managers at Lydd Airport (also known as London Ashford Airport) have vowed to waste no time in pressing ahead with upgrading the site on Romney Marsh. Their £25 million investment plans include the construction of a 294m runway extension plus a 150m starter extension, and a new terminal building capable of handling up to 500,000 passengers a year.
The airport’s owners have already spent £35 million over the past decade in modernising the airport, which has operated on the Dungeness Peninsula since 1954 and was once one of the busiest airports in the UK – in 1958 it handled 223,000 passengers, which was 37,000 more than Gatwick.
Lydd Airport Executive Manager Hani Mutlaq said the Government’s decision was “a victory for common sense and for the people of Romney Marsh” and promised that his management team would move ahead as quickly as possible with delivering an ambitious project which will create jobs, boost tourism and revitalise a long-standing economic blackspot in the region.
The development will also help provide much-needed additional airport capacity in the South East.Mr Mutlaq said: “We submitted our planning applications in December 2006 and it has been a long road to get to where we are today. We put forward a compelling case for allowing the controlled development of the airport, and first the local planning authority and now the Government has agreed with the overwhelming body of evidence in front of them. The right choice has been made for the future of our community.”
The airport’s plans to develop the Romney Marsh site has the backing of many residents and business groups, while opposition has been voiced by other residents, environmentalists and the RSPB. Mr Mutlaq has thanked supporters for their tireless efforts to back the plans, including MP Damian Collins who has been avidly supporting the plans.
The airport will now seek an early meeting with Shepway District Council planners to begin the process of ensuring that the pre-commencement conditions are discharged, including environmental, noise, traffic and other conditions already agreed as part of the approval. “Once all these have been addressed, we hope to begin the runway construction work as soon as possible,” added Mr Mutlaq.
As part of the airport’s general policy, priority for such works will always be given to local contractors and businesses where possible.
Lydd Airport is within easy access of the M20 motorway and just 14 miles south of Ashford, which offers a high-speed rail link from Ashford International Station to London St Pancras Station in just 37 minutes.
The airport caters for a wide range of aircraft operations, from executive jets and helicopters to private light aircraft and cargo.
From the May 2013 “Rye’s Own”
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