No take-off for inquiry into Sheffield airport

NEWS: News.
NEWS: News.
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HOPES to save Sheffield’s airport were dashed as Sheffield Council refused to back calls to halt building work on the site.

Campaigners were left frustrated after delivering a petition calling for plans to transform the area into a business park to be put on hold while a public inquiry is carried out.

Business leaders, MPs and members of the public have supported the bid to give the city back its airport, after it closed in 2008.

Speaking at yesterday’s council meeting at Sheffield Town Hall, Neville Martin, of the South Yorkshire Federation of Small Businesses, said: “The public are incensed the city is losing the airport facility for which it has paid. It is an insult to the taxpayers who funded it.

“There are airlines who want to come in and use it.”

Gordon Milward, regional chairman of the FSB, said: “Everything seems to be going to Leeds. Sheffield cannot be left in the doldrums.”

However, voting against a public inquiry, ruling Labour councillors said they were powerless to stop current owners Sheffield Business Park from pressing ahead with plans to dig up the runway to build offices and retail units.

Coun Leigh Bramall, council cabinet member for transport, said: “We have no powers to halt the development. It is in private hands.

“If there is a private bidder who believes this is sustainable and wishes to purchase the land then they should go forward with that purchase. We will not stand in their way.

“An airport is unlikely to ever be viable and unlikely to make money.

“If the council were involved, we would have to underwrite any loss and we have no idea what it might be.”