Councillors pledge to protect Plymouth Airport site
Flights from Plymouth airport stopped in July 2011. Councillors have pledged to protect Plymouth’s former airport from future development by using planning powers and by lobbying the government. A company called Sutton Harbour has a 150 year lease on the site, and closed the airport in December, saying it was no longer financially viable. It has issued its “vision” for an urban centre which includes housing, shops, a primary school and nursing home, public spaces and a theatre venue. The airport site is protected until 2021. The council wants the site protected for airport use in future, and wants government intervention to prevent other use. But the council does not have money to subsidise it. A group of businesspeople called Viable believes the airport has a commercial future as an airport.
24 September 2012 (BBC)
Councillors have pledged to protect Plymouth’s former airport from future development by using planning powers and by lobbying the government.
Tudor Evans, leader of the Labour-run council said he would write to the prime minister asking for government intervention.
Sutton Harbour Holdings closed the airport in December, saying it was no longer financially viable.
A 37,000-signature petition calling for it to be reopened was debated.
The petition was organised by Viable, a group of businesspeople who believe the airport has a commercial future.
Mr Evans said while he wants the city to have an airport, the council does not have the money to subsidise it.
The airport site is protected until 2021, but earlier this month Sutton Harbour issued its “vision” for an urban centre which includes housing, shops, a primary school and nursing home, public spaces and a theatre venue.
The developer holds a 150-year lease for the site.
But Mr Evans said the council would work on the basis that the site would remain an airport “until every possible opportunity has been exhausted”.
He said: “We are asking people in Plymouth to show their support for government intervention to make the airport a national asset to help it open again for commercial air services.
“I will be sending a letter to the prime minister on behalf of the people of Plymouth asking him to make this happen.
“We recognise that it is not possible to protect the airport land for ever, but we will use our planning powers to protect the airport from development for as long as legally possible.”
Viable, which claims an airport is vital for transport and business links, said the number of signatures on the petition proved the people of Plymouth also wanted one.
The group said it had “credible and workable” proposals for the airport, which will be announced soon.
Flights to and from the airport stopped in July 2011.
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“Viable” urge council to buy Plymouth City Airport lease
Viable Group, which is an American investment advisor located in Texas, hopes to reopen Plymouth City Airport, and wants Plymouth City Council to buy back the lease for the site. Viable Group claims its five-year plan could see 500,000 passengers using the airport afer 5 years if owners, Sutton Harbour Group (SHG), would sell the lease. Sutton bought the 150 year lease from the council in 2000. Plymouth City Council said it supported the idea in theory. Some of the land at the airport has already been earmarked for a £38m housing project. Viable wants to start off with charter services, and then go to scheduled daily domestic flights using two 19-seater planes. Then they want a 40-metre extension to the runway, allowing 90-seater jets to connect Plymouth to Europe.