At last weeks full council meeting, the Conservative administration rejected an amendment from Labour to delay approving £4.4 million of spending on the redevelopment of Rochester Airport.
Medway Labour is in favour of redeveloping the airport, but not in the proposed way, and not before listening to the results of a public consultation.
The council have now agreed to spend the £4.4 million on the airport, which will only be used by an elite few, while thousands of Medway residents are driven further and further into poverty.
Policies on issues such as the bedroom tax, and a lack of policy on issues such as payday lenders and high stakes gambling machines have helped widen the gap between the rich and the poor, and by subsidising this rich-persons pursuit seems callous and elitist.
The real issue here is timing. The Tories have stated in the previous cabinet meeting that the course of action laid out in the master plan is the course of action they will take, and the consultation on the master plan will enable them to do so.
They also said the public may disagree with them, but they will press ahead with the plans anyway.
This close-mindedness makes a mockery of the consultation process, as well as disregarding the scores of people who have been campaigning tirelessly on this issue.
Cllr Glyn Griffiths, Medway Labour’s Communities Spokesperson, said:
“Council decisions are about priorities – a decision to spend £4.4m on Rochester Airport now means that money is not available for other services starved of cash.”
Cllr Teresa Murray, Medway Labour’s Deputy Leader, said:
“I am dismayed that the Tories were so arrogant at last week’s council meeting. They had an opportunity to restore some credibility to the council on consultation but refused to take it.
“Their arguments for putting nearly £5m of public money into a concrete runway that no one wants are very thin indeed.
“I’ll be supporting the public who will now be holding the Tories to account through the planning system when the airport comes to the planning committee for permission.”
Cllr Vince Maple, Medway Labour Group Leader, said:
“The Tory administration’s approach of agreeing to spend the money regardless of the so called consultation just shows complete contempt for the residents of Medway.”