31st March 2011
The Parc Aberporth UAV event planned for July 2011 has been cancelled. The Pause 11 website states:
West Wales Airport Ltd regrets to announce that due to circumstances beyond their control, the PAUSE 11 exhibition and UAS demonstration planned for 6 and 7 of July will now no longer be taking place.
Every effort will be made to convene an annual unmanned systems event at West Wales Airport from 2012 when it is hoped the UAS market will be better placed to both participate and gain benefit.
The organisers extend their sincere thanks and apologies to all who have expressed interest thus far and hope they will look forward to participating in next year’s event.
Judging by previous such events held in Europe, Pause 11 was expected to be dominated by the military and was already gaining the attention of peace and ant-militarisation groups from Wales and the UK. Protests and events by these groups seemed likely.
With units 2, 4 and 7 of the office units at Parc Aberporth already being put on the open market for rent by all-comers, the dream of a “UAV centre of excellence” seems to have turned into an expensive nightmare.
As this Freedom of Information response from the Welsh Assembly Government reveals, £17m has already been spent on the project, plus money spent by Ceredigion County Council on the roundabout at the entrance to Parc Aberporth and the realignment of the B4333 road, plus the cost of buying Cyttir Mawr farm, whose land was needed to extended the runway and create the new road layout.
There are currently 37 people employed in the units at Parc Aberporth, but the WAG cannot provide information on whether they are full or part-time jobs or whether the jobs are taken by people with local addresses (indicating whether the promise of jobs for local people was being in any way fulfilled).