St Mary’s Airport Proposals To Go On Display

st mary's airport proposalIslanders will get a chance to see the proposals for refurbishment of St Mary’s airport terminal at a drop in session next Friday.

The Council agreed to the ambitious £5m plan, including changes to the terminal building, installation of new navigational equipment and repairs to the runway and aprons, last year

Diana Mompoloki from the Council’s Economic Development Department says the draft plans for the terminal include a new glass front, re-siting of the entrance and check-in desks, new single departure and arrival points and a new café area.

She says they want to use the shell of the existing terminal and open it up, to make it more welcoming for visitors and to improve the functionality of the building.

The proposed internal finishes will also be on display for comment.

However, plans to change the parking arrangements for travellers and businesses could prove controversial.

Diana says everyone is welcome to come along and give their views from 12pm to 7pm on 24th May at the Wesleyan Chapel on St Mary’s.

13 Responses to St Mary’s Airport Proposals To Go On Display

  1. Diane Cidade May 17, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    I look forward to attending the presentation of the plans for the airport refurbishment on the 24th. My main reservation at the moment is that the Council may have agreed to go ahead with this plan (mainly because if the runway doesn’t get replaced ASAP, we won’t have much of an airport!) before they got final word on the EGNOS requirements, which currently means that our terminal is too close to the runway. I am interested to find out how these navigational aids will in fact work with the terminal being in its current location, and how installing them plays into the future of our airport, assuming the regulations don’t change. What will happen to these plans if the autumn comes and goes and there is no change to the legislation? While, in principle, I agree that investing in our infrastructure to make it more user-friendly and inviting to passengers is a good thing, it would be downright wasteful and ill-timed if there is the intention that in a couple of years we are to go begging again for further funding so that we might tear down a newly refurbished terminal because we are so ‘desperate’ to get our recently installed navigational aids working to their full ability. I sincerely hope that will not be the case and that there is some flexibility either in the funding or the timing. Or, at a push, that there might be some clever designing going on; if the intention is to keep open the possibility of rebuilding the terminal later on, I would hope that as much as possible, the materials and different segments of the building (like the glass panels for the front of the building) are such that they might be re-used.

    I also expect that there will be a suggested timeline for when the relaying of the runway is meant to take place, and I am keen to see how this might fit in with other Council related works, such as the introduction of fibre-optic broadband, and re-tarmacking of roads.

  2. Mandy Fellows May 17, 2013 at 11:09 am

    It’s funny how so many people have commented saying that nothing needs to change at the airport… then leave a long list of the things that THEY want changing.

    This is probably the last time we’ll get money for any major infrastructure projects on the islands. If we don’t do this now, it’ll be twenty years before we get another chance. Long before then, the same people commenting here will be moaning about how shabby the airport is looking and how it’s putting off visitors.

    Do you all wait until your windows fall out before you give them a lick of paint?

    There are several stories on here that mention how the Council is helping the Steamship Company find funds for a hard runway at Land’s End. I suspect European state aid rules stop money from just being shuffled around to be spent on whatever you want, especially on a private company.

    • Bill Bailey May 17, 2013 at 1:50 pm

      As has already been discussed, it’s not the fact that certain aspects of the airport need improving (which they do) it’s the fact that the council have envisioned spending £5m purely on this plan. Think about that figure for a few seconds and think how ludicrous that sounds… Considering how much Porthcressa cost and the school…(which are also massive over spends). Your analogy of comparing windows to a project of this magnitude is simply, well, simple! If the council is worried about losing the £5m because they don’t spend it all, how about putting the excess funds towards a new sewerage system, new housing developments, improving the roads etc… Don’t just blow the spare cash on a fancy building!

  3. Jeff Eastick May 17, 2013 at 10:19 am

    I’m worried. I agree with Nobby Nobbs !
    Having used the airfield at st Mary’s for over 30 visits, I have always found the reception area perfectly acceptable and all I want to do on arrival is get in the taxi asap and off to our hotel.Likewise on departure. If the internal space is revamped to include the room previously used by helicopter passengers , that should suffice , and there is nothing wrong with the cafe area as it is. This sounds like so many other instances of ‘change for changes sake’. Leave well alone and use money where it is certainly needed, for hard runway at Lands End.

  4. vic May 17, 2013 at 9:24 am

    Yes this side of things is fine, it’s Lands End. You only need three things, somewhere to wait for your flight, somewhere for it to land, somewhere to wait for your luggage!
    I flew over and had to sit on a baggage trolly while I waited for my ambulance.
    No shelter and not even an outside bench for those who just can’t stand up any longer!

  5. maggiemay May 17, 2013 at 8:09 am

    Oh dear, here we go once again – shades of the meetings and viewing of the plans for the Porthcressa Regeneration, we all went along to the Wesleyan Chapel, filled in the questionaires with comments, and what happened! Did anyone read them – who’s to tell, from what developed, not a lot. Once again seems like money is burning the pockets of the powers that be and must be spent, but one hope in the right domain, It is not all that long ago (I know time flies but) – that the airport was re-developed, I agree navigational aids etc. are, and should be a top priority, I’m with Mr. Ridsdale. Lets get it right this time and hope for once the powers that be will listen. I wonder!!!

  6. Colin Ridsdale Mr. May 16, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    I think that today is the first time that I find myself in complete agreement with everything that has written. Have I at last got into step with the rest of the world?
    If our leaders follow along this idea, presumably the grand opening bash is under planning at this very moment.
    All people go to an airport for is to fly out as quickly as possible and with the minimum amount of fuss, or they arrive and want to move on to their next place, be it home or their holiday accommodation. No aeroplanes. No suitable runway: No point in any of it!
    I haven’t seen the plans, so I can only say what I hope to find when I do. What would be good would be to find that the vast space of nothing that is the arrival ‘lounge’ at the moment, has been used for something useful. That luggage will be able to be retrieved from inside the building, (whoever designed the existing arrangement must have patted themselves on the back with the lay out that they planned, taken the money and gone away laughing at having got away with it)
    On arriving to fly out, it would be good for everyone to be able to get inside the building, instead of on occasions, having to queue outside.
    When the railways were privatised, first job they did was to pretty up the stations. At least passengers will have somewhere nice to sit and wait for their overcrowded or non-existent trains. Is that what is going to happen at our airport?
    Providing what we have an airport that meets with the laws of flying, is the first requirement. As far as the passenger area, what we have at the moment as far as I can see is adequate, and over the last 55 years or so with changes when it had to grow, has done its job for me. I am not against change, but change for changes sake, at a time when money is scarce and passenger numbers are going down, is not the time to spend on ‘fancy curtains or leather recliners’ and to use the jargon a cosmetic make over.
    I hope that this not a case of “I’ve found a pot of money, let’s spend it”

    • Nobby Nobbs May 16, 2013 at 9:36 pm

      I find myself in agreement with Mr Ridsdale !!
      The airport is perfectly adequate, with perhaps the exception of open air baggage collection, besides the place was only rebuilt in 2005.

      The airport is one of my favourite places on the island, because a visit to the airport usually means a flight off somewhere, or returning home, or meeting people or collecting goods, in other words, its a place where something happening.
      The best part about the airport though, is the staff, all of them, always friendly , always helpful, the staff at our airport make it a great place to travel to and from.

      I’m with Colin, save the money and spend it else where, perhaps Kev W is also right, we would all benefit from a hard runway at lands end, and loan might be the way to do it?.

  7. someone who happy has just used the airport May 16, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    I though the building was in the wrong place to allow better all weather navigation aids to be installed so why waste money with make overs when there are more urgent transport issues which may help the falling visitor numbers and improve service was islanders

  8. Bill Bailey May 16, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Looks like the council have magicked up an extraordinary amount of money again only to spend it frivolously on gimmicky things! Yes, the runway and navigational aids need improving so the money is welcomed here, but to tart up an existing building that is perfectly adequate is just reckless spending! No one cares about the terminal when they arrive at Scilly because they are already thinking about getting to their next destination on the islands. You don’t hang about for long, lets face it, you’re off the plane, collecting your bags (outside) and on your jolly way. The same goes for leaving the islands, all they are concerned with is getting home and getting something to eat/drink (which is already catered for and very well). One easy fix to most people’s experiences at St. Mary’s airport is free wi-fi. That little bit of browsing, checking weather updates, facebook etc… Makes all the wait for your flight that little more enjoyable. Please reconsider where you spend this money, look around you, listen to the people and take heed to their suggestions, don’t just ignore the obvious!

  9. Kev Wright May 16, 2013 at 10:17 am

    I don’t know if this is ring-fenced money of whatever – but surely if there’s the opportunity to do so it should be spent on a hard surface at Land’s End? I know that these are under different ownership but wouldn’t the opportunity of working together on this one be more beneficial? 5m seems an awful lot to update the functioning terminal when we have an occasionally dysfunctional landing area on the other side.

    • Samual Vimes cmdr May 16, 2013 at 3:16 pm

      I don’t see why the council should use public money to pay for a private company’s investment, beside I expect there are laws about that sort of thing.
      I agree with other comments,, the current building is fine, all it needs is free wifi and the navigational aids that would allow planes to land and take off in the fog.

      • Kev Wright May 16, 2013 at 4:56 pm

        I was thinking more of loaning it so we get a runway quickly. That’s a major problem at the moment. I know you’re not happy about the monopoly but that’s the way it is for now and we have to work with it. A hard surface runway would be a major help to all of Scilly. And then they could spend the remaining money paying off this 1.4m debt or whatever it is they’ve racked up.