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Councillor on Medway Council
Speech delivered to Special Council Meeting about the Cliffe Airport threat

John Ward

Speech delivered to the special Council meeting on 6th November 2002

Thank you, Mr Mayor.

The document we have before us covers all the points that are likely to have an effect on the decision that the Government will be taking, with just the right degree of emphasis.

I have heard one or two people suggest making more of certain aspects of our argument, but this could result in those points being turned back against us, so I recommend that we leave this submission more-or-less as it is. There are just a few typos and suchlike to deal with, and then it should be ready to go.

As you well know, Mr Mayor, I was involved in the Save Rochester Airport campaign right from its first coming to public notice in August 1999˜another fight to avoid a green space being concreted over. Indeed, that issue was the biggest driving force behind my standing to become a local Councillor.

So I‘ve been down this road before, Mr Mayor. Been ther, done that...but we didn't have any T-shirts!

Those who wanted Rochester Airport closed and concreted over believed they would have no trouble doing so: it would be a formality. Well, Mr Mayor, I can tell you that more than three years later, that airport is still open, and I am confident it still will be there in another 3 years' time, or even ten times three years, because that‘s what our people want, and that really can prevail! It can!

I have spoken to a number of people who believe that the proposed hub airport here on the Hoo Peninsula is another "foregone conclusion". I have been able to reassure them that this is not yet settled. To anyone here who feels that way I say: fighting can achieve results!

In the case of the campaign to save Rochester Airport, Mr Mayor, only part of this Council stood with the residents; but on this occasion the people of Medway, all of you, have the whole of Medway Council behind you—and several neighbouring Councils besides...and consultants...legal counsel. That‘s quite a force!

With what we have before us today and with all that we have, together, been able to achieve so far, I am now confident that we can stop this project: we can now ensure that the Government fully realises that it would be doing itself far more harm by trying to inflict the proposed airport on our community than it could ever do by making a different choice, whatever that might turn out to be.

Not that we can yet stop campaigning, but that, quite apart from anything else, Mr Mayor, is a major way that we can ultimately be sure to succeed, and we shall have, Mr Mayor,

NO airport at Cliffe!

Thank you Mr Mayor.

John M Ward (Councillor, Horsted)