Council To Alter Airport Parking And Interior Following Feedback

airport april 2015The Council is altering both the inside and outside of the new St Mary’s Airport and adding a mini roundabout. It follows feedback from locals gathered at their public open day in February.

Some strong views have been expressed about the appearance and quality of the building, which was redesigned as part of a £4m airport project.

One councillor, who didn’t wish to be named, has emailed Radio Scilly to say, “You can’t realistically have any sort of conversation with anyone about the airport and say that it’s wonderful.”

The Council though has maintained that they needed a fit-for-purpose facility for the future, capable of serving up to 140,000 passengers annually.

They will now spend more time and money rectifying some of the most controversial aspects of the design but one of the biggest causes of complaint will have to stay – the wall that blocks the view.

During public presentations of the plans, Council officers highlighted how café patrons would be able to take in the panoramic view across to the harbour.

But a high stone wall went up outside the café and lounge, effectively blocking it.

The Council says it will have to stay because of building controls. They need to box people in away from traffic.

The building has been cold and draughty this winter and some users are blaming the large, sliding glass doors. The Council says they are looking into these complaints too.

Some locals have been unhappy with airport access arrangements. There are just two spaces allocated by the terminal for drop-off.

The Council thinks the solution will be to re-design that area and add a new mini roundabout to control traffic flow. And they say they are also going to discuss the introduction of parking charges in committee.

Outside the terminal, some passengers have tripped up on the raised curbs that run alongside the bus waiting bays.

The Council says these ‘pedestrian piers’ are required to ensure that people with limited mobility can get on and off vehicles and must be there to meet the Disability Act.

Councillors have publicly expressed fears that the Authority could end up settling insurance claims if people are injured by falling off these walkways, so they’ll now widen them.

Some internal alterations are also required. Security gates need to be put in to the cafe area and glass barriers will be erected to separate the lounge from the pre-flight safety briefings area.

There have been complaints about the seating, which the Council says is similar to that used at mainland airports. They had intended to get some sofas too but they haven’t turned up yet.

Some feel the building is a stark and bleak space. Tresco has come to the rescue by offering to loan pieces from the Dorrien Smith art collection for the walls, as they have for Land’s End airport.

There’s been some concern about the luggage conveyors too and again this will be addressed.

And responding to comments about the contractor’s suitability, the Council points out that they have worked on projects at Heathrow, Bristol and Guernsey.

The original designs didn’t go before the Planning Committee, because the Council could by-pass that process using so-called permitted development rights, which apply to airports.

But some islanders expressed concern that it didn’t receive the level of scrutiny of most developments.

The Council says that they accept that the building isn’t to everybody’s taste but they consider it to be a functional and well-built modern space.

Transport Vice Chairman, Cllr Steve Sims, says they had to apply certain rules to their building because they are a local authority, whereas the Steamship Company is a private business and could handle their Land’s End airport re-build differently.

The remodelling of that mainland airport has been widely praised.

The Council says that they welcome further feedback. It can be sent to Senior Manager Diana Mompoloki and her Strategic Development Team who have overseen the airport project.

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