‘Scandal’ of airport

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Howard Greaves (Apr 11) raises the issue of the wanton destruction of our small and potentially very viable airport.

I’m a member of SSCAM, which has campaigned for many years to uncover the truth which enabled the lessee to close the airport and then obtain the 80 acres of land for £1, which wasn’t even collected and, secondly, to make the case for the airport’s retention.

This group has questioned the motives of our council; has written many times to the press; petitioned and appeared before the European Parliament; complained, on more than one occasion, to the Audit Commission; taken legal opinion on the validity of the council’s actions and complained to the relevant Government departments.

All to no avail, except a criticism of the council’s ‘lack of robustness’ in examining the financial data which they were provided by the lessee. As many are aware a very serious potential buyer was given short shrift by the lessees.

This decision and that for closure, rests largely on their ownership of Doncaster-Sheffield Airport which, incidentally, is not only underachieving but is also failing the market for which SCA was built.

The 42 acres of land were given, without charge, as part of the deal to build the airport and for which the ‘maintenance of an operating subsidy of £850,000’ was a condition of the lease but, apparently, not made available since 2001.

The whole affair is a scandal, made worse by the prospects of significant members of the aerospace sector as near neighbours, as well as the airport being in the midst of the city region’s enterprise zone.

What can be done? We could hope, against hope, some local politicians may start to demand real answers to the many questions which remain unanswered and to consider the wider interests of this.

I have to say that the only political support our group has received has been from Anne Smith (prospective Conservative candidate for Dore) and from Timothy Kirkhope MEP.

S Dalton, Westland Gardens, S20