Business rues airport’s loss

Diggers at work on the Sheffield Airport site.
Diggers at work on the Sheffield Airport site.
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Bulldozers have moved in at Sheffield Airport six years after its closure - prompting a business group and residents to rue the loss of the facility.

Neville Martin, development manager for the Federation of Small Businesses South Yorkshire, said: “We are sorry that things have come to this.

“The airport was viable, contrary to reports at the time, and would have been a major asset to Sheffield.

“But sadly politics played its part and the airport was closed.

“If they had stuck with it, by now it would have been performing a major function. Sadly the council has failed in its responsibility, in our view, to protect the needs of local businesses.

“The people of Sheffield have been robbed of a facility, paid for by public funding, and have not been properly recompensed for the investment.”

But the view was rebuffed by Edward Highfield, director of Creative Sheffield, who said: “The airport closed six years ago and the economy has been through a period of growth and recession since then.

“The University of Sheffield project for the site, Factory 2050, will attract investment that will create far more economic growth than the failed airport has done in the past six years.

“Factory 2050 is going to be the most exciting factory in the world. It is going to be an incredible visible showcase of our manufacturing heritage and our future.

“I don’t agree with the FSB’s position. I think the council’s position is that it’s regrettable the airport closed, but unfortunately it wasn’t commercially viable.

“The airport was never a council project, it was private, and the council inherited the lease when the company ceased to exist.

“Factory 2050 is very significant – it will accommodate thousands of jobs.”