Monday, 8 July 2013

Rochester Airport a visitor centre?

The Tory group has heavily lent on the historic significance of spending £5m of hard-earned tax-payers money on a primarily 'recreational' Rochester Airport. 

One of the key lines is the successful heritage and site as a potential tourist centre for visitors so requiring significant improvements.

One quick google however reveals that the Council has barely advertised the airport as an apparent centre for tourism or heritage visits previously and nor is it on established tourist routes. Nor has the Council made an major effort to advertise the airport open days in previous years when compared with other major tourist attractions.

The airport does not feature on the Blessed bus tour route which links in with the core tourist centres; [perhaps because residents would see the number of 'To Let' signs undermining the economic demand argument positioned in the Tory draft strategy document]

If you are going to justify tax-payers pounds on the benefit to heritage it surely would be sensible to have undertaken analysis on potential footfall to any new heritage centre. Surely some scenario testing future revenues to be generated from improvement or visit to the site. No scenario testing on revenue projection or tourist/visitor footfall has been undertaken.

The point is that with the Council suffering an unprecedented level of cuts from government the level of spend here is simply not justifiable on this poorly written draft document whose main claims don't stand up.

Residents have seen time and again Tory projects which have ended up overpriced or overspun; if good intention could deliver on regeneration we would have Rochester Riverside developed by now. Chatham would be the hub of Medway and would be booming; instead the hot air has resulted in huge spends of public money. 

If you are going to justify spend on historic heritage and public interest it would be useful to see what the reality of current interest is. 

Putting that aside; the improvements to the heritage part of the site do not actually cost that much; the primary subsidy remains that of spending on modern facilities for recreational fliers. 

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