Development Officer Blames CAA For St Mary’s Airport Overspend

airport may 2015The Council will know by July whether it has to borrow £582,000 to cover the overspend on the St Mary’s Airport project.

The shortfall has increased again – it’s now £32,000 more than reported to Full Council just last month.

Councillors at yesterday’s Policy and Resources Committee were told by Senior Strategic Development Manager, Diana Mompoloki, that there’s no money left in the airport reserves.

That means if an application to the European Regional Development Fund for the remaining cash is unsuccessful, the only alternative will be to take out a loan.

Diana blamed the Civil Aviation Authority for the overspend, saying they insisted on last minute changes to the plan, which cost £230,000 to implement.

The edges of the runways had to be redesigned to soften them too. That cost £65,000 more.

And resurfacing the grass runway and apron cost an extra £175,000, because the soil was deeper than expected from the initial surveys.

Changes announced last month to the controversial drop-off area at the front of the building have bumped it up by a further £60,000.

Cllr Adrian Davis said he hadn’t realise there was “quite such a huge overspend.”

He said if that had been known earlier, the Council could have made sure a “reasonable” contingency fund was available.

In February, the Transport Committee raised airport fees by 5% in order to refill the rapidly depleting reserves. That was increased to 10% by the Full Council just two weeks later, as the scale of the financial problems became evident.

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