Airport says that it wants future rail link

AS plans for the controversial expansion push ahead Lydd Airport bosses have said they would like to see a new rail-link from Ashford to the airport.

Although, at this stage, only a wish, a new rail line would have massive implications for Romney Marsh, much of which is a specially protected wildlife habitat.

The stated ambition for a future rail link came as the airport held a special celebration event for its supporters on May 3.

Around 100 supporters representing local businesses, residents and others were invited to mark the success in gaining planning permission for a runway extension and a new terminal building.

And it emerged that the airport also has planning permission for a four star hotel on the site.

Executive Manager Hani Mutlaq thanked guests for their unswerving support since the airport submitted its planning applications to Shepway District Council in December 2006.

He then mapped out how the company planned to develop the airport in the years to come.

He explained that the airport was aiming to start the runway extension work early next year once it had completed a series of pre-commencement conditions.

“We are looking forward to developing the airport, the hotel and the neighbouring Lydd golf course together, they complement each other perfectly.

This will support the economic regeneration of Romney Marsh and create a range of excellent employment prospects for local people.”

Quizzed about the possibility of a rail service to the airport, Mr Mutlaq said that it was “an aspiration” to create a rail link from Ashford International Station once future passenger numbers had expanded to make such an investment viable.

Airport protestors - the Lydd Airport Action Group is looking to Europe to try and get the expansion decision overturned.

Rye emergency action group REACT says it is keeping a close eye on the situation and how it could affect Rye.