Airport will not be ‘sold and redeveloped’

SHOREHAM Airport has been saved from a perceived threat of it being sold off and redeveloped.

Brighton and Hove City Council, which owns two-thirds of the freehold of the airport, has removed the discussion of its possible sale from the agenda of its meeting next week.

This news has come after a campaign to save the airport was launched by a prospective MP for the area.

Concern grew when the possible sale of the airport was announced last week. There was a worry over the fact that businesses in the airfield seemed not to have been asked about the plans and that any building of housing was on a flood plain and could mean the airfield would close.

Last week, Mrs Bland, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for East Worthing and Shoreham, asked Norman Baker MP, parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Department for Transport, to stop the sale of the airport until there had been ‘adequte consultation’.

She said: “The final draft of the Adur Local Plan, due to be published for consultation this autumn, should draw a line in the sand and say that the airport is not going to become a property speculator’s building site.”

In her letter to Mr Baker, she added: “Without proper consultations and legal safeguards, there is a risk that decisions are made in haste and in a way that doesn’t thoroughly assess the long-term value of the airport.”

Mr Baker said: “I am pleased that my Lib Dem colleague is championing local issues and she raises important points that should be properly considered.”

On hearing the news that Brighton and Hove City Council would no longer be dicussing the sale at its meeting today, Mrs Bland said: “This is terrific news. I’d like to thank everyone who has got in touch so far to support the ongoing campaign.

“We will simply not allow the oldest airport in the country, a national and local treasure, to become yet another block of flood-risked flats.”

The Shoreham Airport Operators and Tenants’ Association opposes the sell-off and is backed by Mrs Bland.

Councillor Alan Rice, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Worthing Borough Council, which owns the other third of the site, said: “We resist the sale of community assets.”

He added: “This is good news but this story is not over yet. We will continue our fight to save the airport and retain its current community uses.”

Shoreham airfield is the oldest airport in the UK.

It was used in the first and second World Wars and contains unique 1920s listed buildings.

The airport is also host to the annual Shoreham Airshow.

Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, wrote on his website: “It is not the policy of Worthing council to sell its share of the freehold and Adur council are also not keen to see any change in the current status quo.”

To join the campaign, go to www. jemimabland.com where support can be registered.