City's transport links have not improved
WITH the welter of letters and articles to the Herald of recent times, it is with some hesitation that I make a further contribution.
However, as I was the officer in the Plymouth City Council with responsibility for bringing in new investment into the city from the early '70s to the early '90s, I feel I have a contribution to make to the present situation.
Historically, Plymouth has always been remote and is only the size it is today because of the enormous expansion of the Naval Dockyard at the turn of the 20th century.
Despite its position in the country, the early '70s saw Plymouth holding its own in relation to the rest of the country in terms of new transport improvements with the dulling of the A38, the development of new air routes by Brymon Airways including four a day into Heathrow, the introduction of high speed trains and the start of Brittany Ferries to the continent.
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Since then Plymouth transport links to the rest of the country have stayed static or gone backwards at a time when the rest of the country has progressed.
Most major cities in the country now have air services to other parts of the UK and number have services to Europe.
Equipment and line improvement on the railways have gone forwards in other parts of the UK whereas we have been left with trains 30 years old with hardly any progress to the times of rail services in and out of the city.
We live today, more and more, when the decision makers and the investors need to move rapidly around the country and with the least hassle.
At the moment we are at the end of the line as far as investors are concerned. Good communications to the city are as important as the air we breathe and if we are to gain the jobs that the city talks about then air communications in and out of the city are vital.
The council say it is not going to make any contribution to the cost of running the airport but to the future life of this city the airport is as important as any other facet of life that the council supports.
Recently, Sutton Harbour said that its proposed redevelopment of the airport was an opportunity of a lifetime.
I would say that the continuation of an airport and air services are the real opportunity of a lifetime for the city.