MP backs call for inquiry into Sheffield airport to remain an airport rather than become a business park
The South Yorkshire Federation of Small Businesses is calling for Sheffield City Airport to be reopened, and have the backing from Labour MP, Paul Blomfield. They want the planned redevelopment of the runway as a business park to be put on hold and a public inquiry held into whether the airport could be viable. The site is 80 acres, and is owned by Peel Holdings. The MP believes there ‘does remain a role for a city airport in Sheffield’ and that Robin Hood Airport, at Finningley, near Doncaster, ‘is not a business airport’. He wants an independent public inquiry to once and for all assess the commercial viability of Sheffield City Airport and explore any outstanding concerns relating to the history and past use of the airport. Reopening it would need significant private investment. The airport closed in 2008. A mystery bidder has come forward to buy the mothballed airport.
Also, more recently, see article below Meeting to be held on 11th January 2013.
Sheffield City Airport.
18 December 2012
CAMPAIGNERS calling for Sheffield City Airport to be reopened have won the backing from Labour MP Paul Blomfield.
The South Yorkshire Federation of Small Businesses are calling for planned redevelopment of the runway as a business park to be put on hold and a public inquiry held into whether the airport could be viable.
Mr Blomfield, Sheffield Central MP, has written to Gordon Millward, FSB regional chairman, saying he believes there ‘does remain a role for a city airport in Sheffield’ and that Robin Hood Airport, at Finningley, near Doncaster, ‘is not a business airport’.
Mr Blomfield said: “I share your concern that once the site is redeveloped as a business park there will be no opportunity to ever reopen it.
“For that reason, I think an independent public inquiry would be worthwhile in order to once and for all assess the commercial viability of Sheffield City Airport and explore any outstanding concerns relating to the history and past use of the airport.
“Although I support the principle of a Sheffield City Airport, I have yet to be convinced there is a business case for reopening it as such, but I do believe it is worthy of an evaluation.”
Mr Blomfield said an inquiry would need to consider issues including the impact of the new high speed rail network on the business case for the airport, plus the environmental impact.
Further support for the FSB’s campaign to consider reopening the airport has come from James Kilford, chief executive of UK General Aviation, which represents pilots of small and private aircraft.
He said: “It is unthinkable that the UK’s fourth largest city should not have a presence on the aviation map.”
Sheffield City Airport was a small airport in Sheffield (South Yorkshire, England). The airport was opened in 1997 and officially closed eleven years later – strictly speaking on 30 April 2008. In return, Sheffield got a new airport named Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield Airport.
Mystery bidder wants to reopen Sheffield airport
Sheffield City Airport.
11 December 2012
A MYSTERY bidder has come forward to buy Sheffield’s mothballed airport.
The as-yet unnamed would-be buyer has contacted the Federation of Small Businesses – who say he ‘is no stranger to the aviation industry’ and has ‘many business interests’ in the city and across the UK.
Details of his bid and his finances have been passed to Sheffield Council.
Neville Martin, development manager for the FSB in South Yorkshire, said: “We have checked his credentials and are satisfied this is a serious bid, and should be taken seriously.
“This is an incredibly important development. Somebody is prepared to put his money where his mouth is and re-open the airport.”
Campaigners say plans to turn the former airport site into a business park should now be put on hold until an independent public inquiry is held to look into the future of commercial aviation in the region.
The man has told the FSB he wants to buy the 80 acre site from its owners, Peel Holdings and a consortium of private investors, and reopen it to flights.
He claims he could operate scheduled services to UK and European cities, and proposes to offer flight training, air taxi, and business charter services.
He would also open a restaurant and other leisure facilities in a redeveloped airport terminal.
Owners of the site – bought from Sheffield Council for just £1 – have planning permission to develop a business park there.
Gordon Millward, regional chairman of the FSB, said: “Throughout our campaign to save the airport from redevelopment, there has been a myth put about that the former airport was closed because it was not commercially viable.
“We have vigorously refuted that view, and our stance has been vindicated by the entry of a serious bidder into the frame.
“It is our considered opinion that a regional airport will be of infinitely greater value than yet another business park to the future development of the city region.”
He added: “There is business property everywhere standing vacant, and acres of land all around the region to build more if we need it.
“What the region needs more than anything else at this time is an urban airport to bring in businesses and investment to drive the regeneration.
“This development would complement the continued operation of Robin Hood Airport at Doncaster, as the two address totally different markets.
“Manchester has two airports and the South Lancashire region has four. We need to be able to compete with other regions or we’ll be left even further behind in attracting new businesses to this region.
“I have written to Sheffield Council to recommend it pursues the matter with urgency.”
Coun Leigh Bramall, cabinet member for business, said: “Sheffield Council is not in a position to determine the future of the former Sheffield Airport site. It belongs to Sheffield Business Park and the check-in building was converted to offices years ago. The council has no grounds whatsoever, or indeed enforceable powers, to attempt to seek to inhibit or delay the redevelopment of the site.
“It is also important to note that the former airport land is now within an Enterprise Zone and has the potential to create up to 3,000 new jobs in the city.
“To return the site to a functioning and commercially viable airport would require a huge investment of tens of millions.
“Any private sector investment proposal would need to approach the landowners about this first, not the council. The council’s involvement would only be that of planning authority should revised plans for the site be submitted.”
Wikipedia page on Sheffield City Airport:
Sheffield City Airport (IATA:
SZD, ICAO: EGSY) was a small airport located in Sheffield that is now closed. It was located in theTinsley Park area of the city, near the M1 motorway and Sheffield Parkway, and opened in 1997. The airport had its CAA licence withdrawn on 21 April 2008 and officially closed on 30 April 2008, as Sheffield City Council had approved plans to turn the airport into a business park. On 22nd November 2012, the South and East Yorkshire Branch of the Federation of Small Businesses launched a campaign and petition with the aim of delaying redevelopment of the airport site, and calling for the airport’s potential to be reassessed. Three weeks later, a mystery bidder made a bid to Sheffield City Council to reopen the airport. 
Public meeting to discuss calls for inquiry into reopening City Airport – Jan 11th 2013
CAMPAIGNERS wanting an inquiry into whether the old Sheffield City Airport could be reopened are holding a public meeting.
The event has been called by Yorkshire and the Humber Conservative MEP Timothy Kirkhope and the Federation of Small Businesses.
The meeting is to take place in a conference room at The Aston Hotel, Britannia Way, Catcliffe, from 3.30pm on Friday, January 11.
Neville Martin, development manager for the Federation of Small Businesses in South Yorkshire, said: “The meeting will be held to give a public briefing as to the current position in relation to the airport and to make a formal announcement about the progress so far.”
Some 2,690 people have signed an online petition launched six weeks ago into whether an inquiry should be held to look into the case to reopen the airport.
Sheffield City Airport was open to scheduled flights between 1997 and 2002. It was then downgraded for use solely by light aircraft, before the facility was closed in 2008.
Owners Peel have been granted permission to expand a neighbouring business park on to the old runway but no construction work has yet taken place.
Dozens of comments have been made by people signing an online petition to save the airport.
Supporters say that Robin Hood Airport does not provide flights suitable for businesses, and that Sheffield City Airport should be restored to provide shuttle flights to major cities.
Sue Thompson, of King Ecgbert School, Totley, posted: “Railways were taken up without a thought for the future and now we desperately need them, so let’s not make the same mistake with Sheffield Airport.”
Another post, from helicopter worker Bill Leach, said: “I used to work for a helicopter operator based at Sheffield City Airport – obviously no more!
“I now work for a helicopter charter company on the South coast, and I get enquiries from people who want to fly to Sheffield.
“It is difficult to provide a service to those clients when there is nowhere to land…”
But residents under the old flight path, in Darnall and Treeton, are worried about noise if the airport was to be reopened.