The aerospace team in WAG have had to justify their aspirations for the Aerospace Park in the plans put to the Vale of Glamorgan Council for approval of the St Athan Defence College development. They call it a “draft comprehensive strategy” in the Design and Access statement dated May 2009.
As the recession has hit the aerospace industry, they hired a consultant (Mott MacDonald) for an updated assessment of its prospects. This shows claims to maintenance and refits for the RAF, which amount to no more than a wish-list. The consultant asserts the recession “should have only a short-term Impact”.
Yet the Prime Minister called it a "historic mistake to think we can now return to business as usual" (Gordon Brown, Interview with FT, 1 Sept.09).
Why does the aerospace team within WAG quote the industry consultant on their hopes for business-as-usual, rather than ask their own Minister, Iuean Wyn Jones, on this point?
The WDA, who dreamed up the aerospace ‘centre of excellence’ in 2001, were at least subject to business-viability checks within the Assembly. Now the quango is absorbed within WAG, there needs be no such internal check. When minority members of the Assembly Audit Committee proposed to scrutinise the aerospace plans, they were outvoted.
So St Athan is faced with green meadows being seized for a northern access road and housing (www.wix.com/stathan/stag), because brownfield land within the base is reserved for aerospace aspirations. And Welsh taxpayers are to pay the £20 million for unneeded roadsMetrix, , under WAG’s contract with Metrix
At least, there is to be an Inquiry into Compulsory Purchase Orders, where WAG’s steamroller can be challenged.