Airport terminal's not worth saving

WHEN the campaign to try to save Ipswich Airport was in full swing back in the mid-1990s, one of the key events was the decision of the government to list the old terminal buildings.

WHEN the campaign to try to save Ipswich Airport was in full swing back in the mid-1990s, one of the key events was the decision of the government to list the old terminal buildings.

The 1930s terminal was of historic value, we were told. If the airport was redeveloped, these buildings had to remain.

That decision looks like a sad joke now – would anyone really object if a JCB ran amok and flattened the grotty building?

All around the terminal, the new Ravenswood community is taking shape.

The new homes look good, the new school is a triumph of new architecture, and the whole development has smartened the area up completely.

But in the middle of this attractive new development there's the old terminal building looking like a couple of dilapidated chicken sheds stuck together.

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I know many people are still annoyed at the loss of the airport. I know there are still some who want to punish the council for the closure.

But is there any purpose in retaining the old terminal?

Surely it would be better for everyone if it was knocked down and replaced by a new building offering modern facilities for a modern community.

There may have been some architectural benefit to it as an airport terminal building, but without the airfield it loses all sense of purpose – and saving it is really a totally hollow gesture.

And as long as it remains there it will provide the campaigners with a reminder of the battle they fought and lost – it is a open sore waiting to be scratched.

The listing, in the final analysis, served no purpose at all.

It may have looked like a good move for the protesters at the time – but it didn't save the airfield and only left us with an ugly blot on the landscape.

Let's hope that someone at the Department of Culture sees the folly of their earlier decision, removes the listing and allows this part of Ravenswood to look as smart as the rest of the community.

WASN'T it interesting to see the reactions of Suffolk politicians to The Evening Star's exclusive report on security at Sizewell.

Tory shadow minister Tim Yeo praised the Star for exposing the dangers at Sizewell and called for a review and steps to make things safer.

Labour county councillor Joan Girling condemned us, saying "Raising it through the papers makes it more of a target."

So if any Star-reading nuclear terrorists got the idea of bombing Sizewell after reading our paper, please don't do it!

But what struck me about the reaction from Mr Yeo and Mrs Girling was the suspicion that they may have said exactly the opposite if we had carried out the exercise when there was a Tory government at Westminster and the Tories were in control of Suffolk County Council.

CONTROVERSIAL councillor Chris Newbury really put his foot in with his comments to new Liberal Democrat Jane Chambers.

It was monumentally insensitive of him to say: "They used to put down people like you," especially when he had never met her before.

Those of us who know Mr Newbury won't be totally shocked that he could say such a thing – but we also know that he had no malicious intent with the comment.

Mr Newbury isn't a New Labour clone like some of his colleagues, and his presence in the council chamber livens up debates when many of his colleagues are prepared to just sit there, shut up, and stick their hands in the air when required.

Earlier this year he was de-selected from his safe seat of Sprites – and it looked as if he was being frozen out by the Labour group.

But then Labour members in Whitehouse, which is in another parliamentary seat, offered him the chance to return to Civic Centre.

As someone with real personality, I was pleased to see him back there – and he's managed to liven up debates again since his re-election.

I really don't believe he meant to offend Mrs Chambers – she got it absolutely right when she said: "He opened his mouth without engaging his brain."

The Labour group seems to have given him a last chance to redeem himself – although I know many people feel he should resign from the council.

If he were to be forced out, I'm not sure how many of his colleagues would shed tears – but council meetings would be much less interesting.